To keep or scrap the close season is a question that has divided anglers for many years. However the Environment Agency are now letting you have your say, from today (14th of Jan) until the 11th of March 2019, you can put your view across via an online consultation which will have you answer questions about the closed and your reasoning behind your answers.
Once over the Enviroment Agency will be publishing all responses minus personal information and people who have opted out of having their response shared.
Once they have collated all the data and if any new evidence for or against the close season has come up then they will consider a possible change in the ruling.
If they find that there is a case to scrap or move the dates for the close then they will put together and advertise new byelaws in 2019. This will then give people a chance to object or support the proposals before sending in an application to the Secretary of State for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs can then confirm any changes they decide on. It will finally then be up to the Secretary of State to decide if they support the recommendations.
The current close season runs from the 15th of March to 15th of June on rivers in England. Most canals and stillwaters are not affected by this.
The environment agency website had this to say on why the consultation was happening: “We want to better understand the risks and benefits associated with any change and the potential impacts on fish populations, angling and wildlife. We want to hear from all those interested in coarse fish and fisheries, including the businesses that depend on angling, to help us decide whether we need to retain, change or remove the current close season.
We may, as a result of this consultation, make new byelaws. If we do, we must advertise them to allow anyone the opportunity to object. This will most likely happen later this year.”
In 2018 a survey was sent out for angler's opinions on the close season the results were, 43% of anglers support retaining the current close season: 17% support retaining a close season, but changing the dates; and 33% support removing the close season (the remainder were undecided).
In the same year Angling Times asked Its readers to vote on keeping or scrapping the close season with 71% voting to scrap it. See here
For more information check out the lines on the water blog here