THE UK’s major angling and fisheries conservation groups have published a joint paper setting out their concerns over moves to replace EU environmental legislation in the wake of the Brexit vote earlier this year.
Brexit, Fisheries and the Water Environment has been jointly produced by the Angling Trust & Fish Legal, Atlantic Salmon Trust, The Rivers Trust, Countryside Alliance, Salmon & Trout Conservation UK and the Wild Trout Trust. Three quarters of rivers in the UK are failing to reach good ecological status and much of this is down, not to industrial pollution, but to poor agricultural practices in their catchments. Many marine fish stocks are threatened as a result of commercial over-fishing. The groups argue that while there is an urgent need to reform the wasteful and environmentally damaging system of agricultural subsidies much of the improvement that has occurred in our natural environment has been underpinned by EU measures such as the Water Framework, Marine Strategy Framework and the Habitats Directives. The report calls for the Common Agricultural Policy to be replaced by payments that reward environmentally sensitive practices delivered through farmer-earned recognition and voluntary accreditation.
The Angling Trust chief Martin Salter said,
“We believe that these EU directives are all essential for improving the aquatic environment and protecting our fisheries and trust that Ministers will not throw out the ‘environmental baby’ in the ‘ Brexit bathwater’. In fact, we are hoping to see strengthening in some cases.”
The report calls for the sustainable management of marine fisheries based on scientific evidence and the designation of recreational-only species in recognition of the far greater social and economic benefits arising from sea angling than from commercial fishing fleets. This and other policies should be encapsulated in a new national fisheries policy covering both marine and freshwater fish, which takes much greater account of the needs and role of recreational fisheries, it says. However the report does not appear to directly consider the position in Northern Ireland which has shared seas and a land border with an EU nation. A common approach to fisheries and the environment on this island must be on the agenda at the Brexit negotiations to avoid damaging conflict with the Republic.
Meanwhile Ireland’s biggest fly fishing show will take place at the Galway Bay Hotel, in Salthill on November 12 and 13. Flyfisher and show organizer Stevie Munn said,
“The show is a fantastic success with many of the fly dressers, demonstrators, exhibitors and the tackle trade re-booked for this year’s event. With thousands of visitors the feedback is always exceptionally positive, with many saying it is the best game angling show they have ever been to, we hope to build on this and have many new trade stands, fly tyers and celebrities again for this year.”
Visiting celebrities include Hywel Morgan, Eoin Fairgrieve, Glenda Powel, Peter O’Reilly and Gordon Armstrong and experts include Tom Doc Sullivan and Dr Ken Whelan.
For more details see web. www.irishflyfair.com or contact Stevie Munn by Email, firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally the 9th World Championships for Predator Boat Fishing with Lures, held at Ireland’s Lough Ree, earlier this month revealed how eastern Europe now dominate the sport. With two days of flat calm conditions the skills of the world class anglers were put to the test and the expertise of team Ukraine won the day as it took first position on the podium. A steady performance from Belarus secured second with Lithuania finishing third. Team Ireland had the fifth largest number of fish caught in the competition but the combined length was only enough for a 10th position finish. The Italian team had the longest pike at 102cm.