The following is an extract from an article that appeared earlier this year in the State of New York ‘POST’ online media. It highlights the stark contrast in attitude to angling and anglers in general on the other side of the pond. It is certainly thought provoking:-
“New York is home to world-class fishing in virtually every corner of the state,” Governor Cuomo said.
“From the Catskills to the Adirondacks, from the Finger Lakes to Lake Ontario, or a small stream or neighbourhood pond, I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to get out and enjoy all the great fishing that New York’s waters have to offer.”
In New York State the Department of Environmental Conservation operates 12 fish hatcheries and in 2017 plans to stock more than 2.2 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 314 lakes and ponds and roughly 2,850 miles of streams across the state, which over the course of the spring will include 1.6 million brown trout, 426,300 rainbow trout, and 160,200 brook trout.
That’s in addition to the stocking of nearly 2 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake, Chinook salmon, and coho salmon that will grow over the years to become catchable size fish.
For those who prefer a quieter, more remote setting in the Catskills or Adirondack Park, more than 316,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 342 lakes and ponds in those locations this spring and fall, providing unique angling opportunities.
As part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which is aimed at increasing outdoor recreational opportunities in New York, the state is making significant improvements to DEC’s fish hatchery system and waterway access facilities.
Since 2014, $11 million in NY Works funding has been budgeted for hatchery improvements.
In New York State, the Department of Environmental Conservation is very proactive and angling is encouraged as an ‘outdoor recreational opportunity.’ It is well funded, probably well run, and quite clearly has numerous business, financial, recreational and community spin offs.
Compare this approach to this side of the Atlantic where game anglers are often at odds with the governments fishing control agency, the Environment Agency, particularly, but not exclusively, over the issue of re-stocking!
Unlike the ‘Sates’ re-stocking here seems to be a much more emotional affair with many anglers believing that rivers should be replenished with native fish or diploids, whilst the Environment Agency takes a more scientific approach encouraging clubs to allow rivers to recover by promoting long term habitat improvements.
The situation with migratory fish is even more fraught. Despite many rivers in England and Wales being classified as being ‘at risk’ or ‘probably at risk’ little is being done to help these rivers recover through re-stocking. In fact some of the hatcheries that still remain today are threatened with closure.
In the ‘States,’ angling is clearly seen as a recreational sport worthy of significant financial support. It appears to be run almost as a business both for the long term benefit of anglers and the environment.
On this side of the pond many anglers feel that ‘environmental science’ has control, with far too much emphasis being placed on genetics and the natural order to the detriment of fish stocks.
Unfortunately, with this scenario in place, many anglers are turning away from this element of the sport and there is little to attract younger participants with inevitable consequences for local fishing clubs.
The old adage that there is more to fishing than catching fish is true, but only for so long.
Source: New York Post (online media)