Beavers again!

6 May

We have mentioned before the introduction of beavers in the UK and cast doubt upon the wisdom of so doing without proper research into the consequences. Lo and behold!   A recent article from the BBC News service has illustrated the potential problems.

In a small town in Quebec, beavers chewed through fibre cable at multiple points, causing disruption to internet and TV service. More telling was that the cable had been buried 3 feet underground and protected by a conduit more than 4 inches thick. Of great interest also is the report that farmers in particular worry about the havoc beavers could cause to crops and trees. Further, the mayor of the affected town had already blamed beavers for extensive flooding which damaged property and infrastructure.

And we are deliberately introducing these creatures into the British countryside without proper research into the consequences or any formal mechanism for monitoring and control?

The BBC article can be found here

No, not an April Fool!

6 Apr

When I read an article about this in the weekend paper, I really did think that someone had missed an April Fool’s prank.   The “report” on Fish Welfare by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation reads just like an April Fool, and the Angling Trust have done well to call a spade a spade and label it an ‘ill informed anti-angling rant lacking in evidence or credibility’.

You can read the Angling Trust’s reaction here, and their page also contains a link to the full report.  Just a tip: if you suffer from high blood pressure, do not read the full report!

Kudos to the Angling Trust for their unequivocal response!   They set a great example to us all of how we must not let these wild allegations go unchallenged, and how we should both bring them to light wherever they occur and correct them in a calm and factual manner.

North East Fisheries Forum

18 Mar
Those of you not in the Angling Trust, or, who like me are in the Trust but somehow never get email from them, may not be aware of a forthcoming Virtual Fisheries Forum | North East Environment Agency Updates webinar which has, apparently, been arranged at short notice.

 

The AT states “In this Virtual Fisheries Forum, we welcome the Environment Agency’s Phil Rippon for an update on the work of the Fisheries Team in the North East Region. In addition to a catch up on recent Environment Agency projects in the area, Phil will provide a review of the Team’s work in 2020, with a forward look into key activities planned for the future.” And with regard to those key activities planned for the future, please be prepared to respond to any forthcoming Environment Agency consultations regarding fish stocks – we will notify you as soon as they appear.

 

Although not quite the same as attending a meeting, it is still as important as ever that as many as possible participate, particularly with a number of important decisions to be reached by the end of this year. The webinar will be on Zoom, and once you have registered, you will be sent a link for joining. You do not need an account with Zoom in order to take part.

 

Please use this link for registration.

Muddy Waters in the River Severn

17 Mar

This BBC news item highlights the latest thinking, or lack of it, from the Environment Agency. Despite stating that they want to work with anglers in finding the best way forward, the EA’s proposals are confusing or confused to say the least.

They recommend prohibiting the use of the estuary draft net and putcher fisheries to capture salmon and sea trout for the next ten years, but propose to allow up to 22 lave nets to continue on a catch and release basis. The lave nets are those ones that look like a giant triangular landing net. Just what is the point of that? They seem likely to do more damage than good, even if they can be argued to be something of a tourist attraction. What would be next? Cormorant and goosander reserves in the headwaters? Feeding the seals on Denny Island?

Proposals for anglers include mandatory catch and release, banning bait fishing for salmon and sea trout, barbless hooks only for all methods and singles only on lures and spinners. There is a wealth of research into multi-hook rigs on lures and spinners, and we have seen no conclusive evidence that singles cause less damage: rather the other way round.

We saw similar proposals for the North East, and thankfully the EA decided against most of it. Do the regions actually consult with each other as well as the public?

If such proposals become the bye-laws on the Severn, what are the chances of that being used as an argument for implementation in other areas? Or perhaps we are just being cynical? We should be wary of these proposals for the Severn even if they do not immediately or directly impact us, and in any way possible lend our support to the anglers who may be affected by them.