Update from the Angling Trust and Fish Legal
River Trent Pollution - we are on the case
The Angling Trust and Fish Legal have been investigating the impact and cause of the tragic pollution of the River Trent which killed tens of thousands of fish. Cyanide was flushed through a sewage treatment works, killing the bacterial processes and the lethal cocktail swept down the river. We will, if at all possible, be taking legal action against the polluters on behalf of our member clubs.
The End of the Line
Charles Clover’s excellent film about the decline in sea fish stocks was screened on More4 TV on Tuesday 20th October at 10pm. If you haven’t seen this film, try and take time to watch it. It makes grim viewing, but it's a powerful weapon in our campaigns to persuade governments to take action to stop the rape of our seas and oceans.
Marine Environmental Campaigns
The Angling Trust has secured a two-year £60,000 funding agreement from a charitable trust to appoint a Marine Environmental Campaigns Manager to campaign on behalf of anglers about the review of the Common Fisheries Policy, marine dredging, controls on commercial trawlers, marine conservation zones and other issues affecting sea fisheries. We need £9,000 more match funding from new membership subscriptions and donations to unlock this funding. The Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society has already generously donated £1,000 to the cause. If you can help, please get in touch or donate by clicking here.
Environmental Campaigns and Hydropower
Mark Owen’s freshwater environmental work, funded by WWF and the HSBC Climate Partnership, is bearing fruit already. The Angling Trust has objected to eight hydropower applications which would have damaged fisheries and already two of them have been rejected. We are not opposed to renewable energy in principle, but we will continue to fight any plans for turbines which could cause damage to fisheries. We are also actively lobbying the Environment Agency, in partnership with others, to make their Hydropower Good Practice Guidelines more fish friendly.
We have selected the first two regional environmental campaigns:
• The River Tame, a major tributary of the Trent, has suffered many times from pollution arising from inadequate drainage arrangements in Birmingham. We are campaigning for this to be addressed and to reverse the declining match returns from the river. Many other major conurbations have similar problems.
• On the Sussex Ouse, impassable weirs are affecting migratory sea trout, eels and lampreys. We are campaigning for their removal. The lessons we learn will help us with similar problems elsewhere.
If you think you know of a major environmental problem affecting fisheries near you, why not apply for it to become the focus of one of our campaigns? Details on the website HERE.
Water Framework Directive
Poor fish stocks are a major cause of rivers, lakes, canals and coastal waters failing the Directive’s standards. The Angling Trust and Fish Legal are working with WWF, RSPB, the Association of Rivers Trusts, the Salmon & Trout Association and other environmental groups to increase the ambition in the draft River Basin Plans currently with Ministers. Please write to your MP - click here to find out how.
Fish Legal has secured a swift settlement on behalf of its member, the Egremont & District Anglers Association, who received £3,000 from contractors for Cumbria County Council after scaffolding on the River Ehen collapsed and lodged in one of the club’s prime salmon and sea trout holding pools.
Fish Legal has also successfully settled a civil action against a poacher on behalf of the Kings Llyn Angling Association. We issued proceedings against one of three men arrested by police on 25th May 2008 at a makeshift camp set up on the banks of the Wissey from where they took fish illegally from the river over a number of days.
During a hearing at Kings Lynn County Court on 7th October 2009, the defendant gave an undertaking – or sealed promise - to the Judge that he would not trespass or fish on the club’s waters at any time in the future. If found in breach of this undertaking, the defendant could face a charge of contempt of court which carries with it the possibility of a prison sentence.
Fish Legal has also attacked the decision of six of the large water plcs to appeal against revised discharge consents issued by the Environment Agency to put an end to pre-privatisation era temporary consents. Some twenty years ago, in 1989, at the time of water privatisation, the water companies were granted temporary consents for many thousands of discharges carrying storm sewage into English and Welsh rivers. This was meant to be a temporary measure...
Although many years too late, the recent approach taken by the Environment Agency has been entirely reasonable in attempting to deal with this long-standing hangover from privatisation. That these water companies have seen fit to appeal against a set of conditions which are hardly onerous and which any reasonable person would consider the bare minimum that should apply to pipes potentially discharging raw sewage into our rivers, is shameless. Fish Legal’s view is that twenty years is far too long to have left these sewage discharges effectively unregulated.
We are increasingly concerned about the salami-slicing of angling access around the country. Our members have contacted us about angling being banned from several lakes, and about vehicle and parking restrictions preventing sea anglers getting to beaches they have fished for generations. We have written to the relevant councils to fight these bans at a local level, but we are keen to get a national picture. If you know of anywhere angling has been banned or restricted, or where such plans are being discussed please let us know.
If we can’t reach the river, lake or sea and if we can’t park longterm, then who needs to ban angling to stop it?
Membership on the up
Individual membership has reached 12,547 (including life and junior members) and we now have 1,174 member clubs. Riparian owner and fishery memberships are also increasing. Encourage all your friends to join up, we need them all on board.
Thank you to everyone who has already donated funds to match the donation of £20,000 from one of our members. Please help us reach our target so that our donor will repeat the gift in 2010 and 2011.
If you haven’t already completed the online survey being carried out into the benefits of angling, please click here. The results of this ongoing three year study could be very useful for the future of angling.
We will be sending all our members the next printed Newscast and Fish Legal update in late November.