Outrage at zander ‘cull’ during National match

CRT defends the practice, pointing to improved catch returns as proof

Outrage at zander 'cull' during National match

by Angling Times |

THE Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) has this week defended its removal of zander during the recent Division One National match on the Grand Union Canal.

In adherence to Angling Trust guidelines, any zander or catfish – both officially deemed non-native species – caught during the prestigious match were to be placed in a separate keepnet and later removed by the CRT at the final whistle. Although no catfish were caught, a number of zander were, and these were later either incinerated or sent to market.

The contentious practice has outraged many in the angling community, but John Ellis, National Fisheries and Angling Manager at the CRT, believes the better-than-expected weights recorded at the match justified the policy, with no blanks recorded by any of the 420 competitors.

“The National wasn’t the disaster that was predicted a few years ago,” he said.

“Not only did nobody blank, but very few people recorded a weight under 500g. For a National, that’s pretty good.

“Roach had severely declined on the canal, and while they still aren’t a viable target, there are signs of a comeback, with either very large or very small ones caught. In my opinion, the removal of zander has helped their recovery,” he added.

The National wasn’t the disaster that was predicted a few years ago
The National wasn’t the disaster that was predicted a few years ago

Dave Warren of the Tusses Lure Division, however, isn’t so sure. With the Tusses Angling Club, it controls more than 50 miles of the Oxford and Coventry Canals where silverfish sport is thriving alongside an untouched zander population.

“I don’t agree with the removal of zander and think some proper research needs to be done on the impact they really have,” he said.

“We’ve got old boys in the club who have fished the canal for 60 years, and they say it’s better for silverfish than ever,” he added.

“Lure angling is also a popular, rapidly-growing arm of our sport. By removing zander, you jeopardise its future.”

The CRT has a policy of removing any zander caught
The CRT has a policy of removing any zander caught
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