Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Angling Trust gets under way

As of January 5th 2009 the SAA was formally dissolved. It's work will be carried out by the Angling Trust.

As a result this blog will no longer be added to and all news of the Angling Trust can be found on it's website at www.anglingtrust.net


Friday, September 19, 2008


Bill Ward has stepped down from his position as Chairman and Director after 7 years. Bill first joined the Society in 1993 and was invited by Tim Paisley to join the Steering Committee which he did from 1994 until 1997. He went on to be a Governor from 1997 – 2001, and held the position of Chairman from 1998 – 2000 and again from 2001 - 2008.

Bill retired from Rolls Royce three years ago and now travels the canal system on his narrowboat, ‘Wilver’ along with his wife Ginny and his trusty black Labrador, ‘Gunner’.

David Mannall, Director and Commercial Manager:
“We have been privileged to have Bill’s invaluable support over the years and are delighted that he has agreed to continue his association with the Society as Editor of the annual Carp Fisher Journal, which has recently undergone a re-design by leading publisher Medlar Press.

“In addition, we are pleased to have appointed Bill a Vice President and life member, in recognition of his efforts.

“We are happy that he is enjoying his travels and look forward to his continued input.”

The vacant position of Chairman was tabled at the recent Society board meeting and Malcolm Coller was unanimously voted to carry on the role.

Malcolm brings much business and legal expertise to the Society and was hugely instrumental in drafting the changes to its restructure in 2001 added to which his prowess as ‘Chef’ at Society events is legendary!

For more information contact:
David Mannall 01367 253969

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wild trout fishing on the River Ebble - Do you want it?

There are just a few weeks to go for people who live in the Salisbury area to let the Environment Agency know what they think about plans to turn the river Ebble into a wild trout fishing river - one of the few in England.

The Agency has been consulting local people for the past few months about reclassifying the Ebble - one of the best trout chalk streams in England - into a Wild Fishery Protection Zone.

If local people agree to the idea, it would mean only wild trout would thrive in the river. Stocking it with farmed trout could no longer take place. Doing this would mean wild trout in the Ebble are not mixed up with farmed fish.

D-J Gent from the Environment Agency said: "Every response we've had to the proposal so far has been really positive. We are nearing the end of the consultation process, but there is still time to tell us what you think about reclassification proposal. From our point of view we are keen to protect the native wild fish population, but there is also potential benefit here for local angling businesses who will be able to
market themselves to the niche market of wild trout fishing."

The Environment Agency is keen to formally reclassify the river by the end of September, so if anyone has a point of view on the proposal, they are being urged to get in contact with us as soon as possible. People can do this by calling D-J on the Environment Agency customer service line on: 08708 506 506.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Koi Herpesvirus disease outbreak confirmed

Movements of fish in and out of the Royal Horticultural Society Garden Ponds at Hyde Hall, Essex have been restricted, following the confirmation of Koi Herpesvirus (KHV) Disease.

Apparently the RHS was willing to accept donations of fish from members into their ponds!!

Defra has issued a Designated Area Order prohibiting the movement of fish to and from Hyde Hall (Top and Bottom Pond), Royal Horticultural Society, Hyde Hall, Hyde Hall Road, Rettendon Common, Chelmsford, Essex. Samples were taken from the affected pond following reported deaths of fish. KHV Disease affects common carp and carp varieties such as Koi. It can result in high rates of fish mortalities. There are no implications for human health.

It became a legal obligation to notify suspicion of KHV Disease on 6th April 2007. The measures developed in partnership between government and industry to help combat outbreaks were announced on 21st May. Suspicion of the presence of the disease should be immediately reported to: the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Weymouth.

Presence of the Citrus Longhorn Beetle in UK

An invasive non-native insect which could harm woodland areas and garden plants in the UK has been identified. The Citrus Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) has been brought in on Acer plants (Acer palmatum or 'Japanese Maple') imported from China via the Netherlands and distributed by mail order. This pest is not established in Great Britain but there have been several recent findings in different parts the country.

Although the beetle is known to have been introduced in Acers, it can affect a wide range of trees or shrubs, such as oak, beech, ash, maple, apple, pear, willow, hibiscus, horse chestnut, hornbeam, hazel, birch, mulberry and rose.

Citrus Longhorn beetles develop inside plant stems and tree trunks, taking between one and three years to emerge, and are therefore difficult to detect.

Prior to emergence, there are no obvious symptoms of infestation or the presence of a larva or pupa within a plant or tree. However, large (6-11 mm) exit holes are left by the emerging adults in the stem. These exit holes may be just above ground level, but can also be just below ground level and as such are not visible. Other symptoms can include:

* Scraped sections of bark

* Chewed leaves and damage to the petioles by adults

* T-shaped egg slits in bark

* Saw-dust like 'droppings' or wood pulp around holes and larval tunnels in the wood under loose or thin bark.

Examination of the ground at the base of the shrub or tree for signs of wood shavings provides a rapid method of detecting activity of late stage larvae.

These large black beetles grow to between 21-37mm long and have distinct white markings and long "horns" or antennae. The antennae are longer than the body and are black with white bands. It could be found on a wide range of trees or shrubs.

If you see one of these distinctive beetles, please isolate it in a sealed container and contact your local Plant Health and Seeds Inspector (PHSI) details of whom can be found on the Defra website - http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/senior.htm or telephone 01904 455174. The PHSI should also be notified if there is other evidence of Citrus Longhorn beetle infestation.

Further information about the Citrus Longhorn Beetle is available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/pestnote/2006/citlong.pdf

All suspect alien invertebrate plant pests must be reported to the local Defra Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate office or the PHSI HQ, York (Tel.: 01904 455174, Fax: 01904 455197).

Public enquiries 08459 335577;

Friday, May 23, 2008

Angling Unity Update May 2008

For the past year, the main national membership organisations representing anglers have been planning to unify into one body to represent all coarse, sea and game anglers. This is a move which has been long awaited and tried unsuccessfully in the past. We aim to make it a reality at last. It is widely known that there are millions of anglers in the UK, but they have never had a single professional, high-profile and well-funded organisation to represent their views.

Who is involved?
The organisations participating in unification are:
The Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA) – uses the law to fight pollution and other damage to rivers, lakes and canals on behalf of its members
The National Federation of Anglers (NFA) – governing body for coarse angling in England, organises regional and national competitions, manages coarse angling development and provides services to its member clubs.
The National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) – governing body for sea angling in England, organises regional and national competitions, manages sea angling development, campaigns on environmental and other issues affecting recreational sea angling.
National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) – the national representative body for local fisheries and angling consultatives (groups or organisations set up to represent the interests of anglers, angling clubs, and owners in specific catchment or geographical areas)
The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) – recently registered as a charity, the body which represents the interests of the UK’s game anglers, fishery owners/managers and affiliated trades, in all issues relevant to angling and fisheries legislation, regulation, management and conservation
The Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) – represents the interests of specialist anglers and angling groups ranging from English Carp Heritage Organisation and the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain to the Tenchfishers and the Eel groups, as well as member clubs and societies and individual angling members.

The process is being co-ordinated by the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust (FACT) which is the existing umbrella body representing these and other angling and fishery organisations.

What will the new body do?
The new body will of course continue the work of these organisations, but it will also do much more. It will offer new services to its members, develop new campaigns, lobby government effectively, raise the profile of angling and fisheries conservation and fight to protect angling at a local and national level.

There are many important issues on which action is needed:
· Increased funding for teaching young people how to fish and recognition of the education value of fishing
· Continue and improve fishing competitions and success rates at regional, national and international levels
· Reverse the decline in government funding for fisheries despite increased revenue from rod licences
· Reinstate angling and fisheries to the heart of the Environment Agency’s and DEFRA’s policies and ensure representation on RFERAC and REPAC committees
· Support existing regional networks (e.g. consultatives and fishery associations) with professional staff
· Raise local issues at a national level and report back the results of lobbying and campaigns
· Support angling clubs with legal advice and provide guidance on: e.g. leases, access, constitutions, health & safety, fundraising and fisheries management
· Reverse the damage caused by commercial overfishing at sea
· Control sand and gravel extraction from rivers and the seabed
· Prevent unregulated access by canoes and other craft
· Secure management strategies for predators such as cormorants and goosanders
· Improve regulation of water pollution from industry, agriculture and sewage
· Reduce abstraction of water which has led to rivers and lakes drying up
· Clear up and prevent litter in rivers and on sea shores – there are currently inadequate duties to remove it
· Reverse the destruction of habitat by flood defence, land drainage and damaging trawling methods
· Remove barriers to the movement of marine, coarse and game fish in rivers and estuaries (e.g. Severn Barrage and weirs built in the industrial revolution which serve no purpose)
· Demand better enforcement and legislation to prevent fish theft, illegal sales of fish and poaching
· Protect angling from being banned from rivers, lakes, harbours, shorelines and piers due to health & safety or wildlife protection
· Keep fish disease such as KHV and Gyrodactylus salaris out of the UK
· Campaign to stop commercial fish farming causing pollution, sea lice infestation and escapes of farmed fish into the wild.
· Ensure Sea Fishery Committees have adequate angling representation and have a positive programme to protect and develop angling.
· To use the law to stop damage occurring to aquatic habitats owned or leased by our club, riparian and fishery owner members and to fight for compensation when it does occur.

These are all very important issues which need to be fought at the local, regional and national level with professional staff being employed to deliver programmes of work and to campaign and lobby government. This will only be possible if we can create an organisation which attracts the support of the majority of anglers to provide both the revenue and the political weight to get things done.

Getting the detail right is fundamental to the success of the new body and the next two sections help explain why it’s taking what seems a long time.

Progress so far

News of the plans for unification first broke in November 2007. Since then, all the organisations have been consulting their memberships about whether they should be involved. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive, although there are many members of the existing bodies who have concerns. Angling newspapers and magazines have all been very supportive of the plans, which have also been reported in national newspapers.

Each of the six organisations has now contributed £10,000 to a unification fund and a Transition Board, comprising the Chairmen of the organisations, has been seeking professional advice about the legal and financial implications of unification. It is naturally a very complicated process, given that the organisations are constituted differently (there is one registered charity, several limited companies, some purely voluntary bodies, and an unincorporated association involved). Most of the organisations employ staff and their employment rights will be protected.

All of the parties are currently undertaking due diligence – which means that all the organisations have to provide copies of their accounts and details of all their databases, supplier and staff contracts, office equipment, stock, assets and liabilities etc. Amalgamation of these across six differently constituted bodies is more complex than many business mergers. The Board has also been getting advice about how to ensure that the new organisation should be marketed to ensure that it can achieve its aim of mass membership.

What’s happening next?
The Transition Board is now supervising work in three main areas:

· Business planning – organisation structure, board memberships, charitable status, due diligence, membership rates and projections, costing of activities, developing partnerships with the tackle trade and other organisations to generate income
· Member benefits – developing a package of services and benefits to offer each category of members in return for their subscriptions
· National remit – holding discussions with organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to finalise arrangements to reflect devolution whilst continuing to deliver some services throughout the UK. We are also discussing the status of the unified body with Sport England.

When these pieces of work are complete, the organisation will be ready to set out its plans in more detail with regard to its activities, membership benefits, service delivery and organisation structure. When this detail is available, each organisation will need to go through a different process to secure the support of its membership and management to transfer its staff and assets into the new body. The plan is to launch the new organisation in January 2009.

The new organisation is not yet constituted and so it is not possible for anglers to join up yet. If you want to support the process, the best way is to join (or remain a member of) one of the participant organisations now. This will help them continue their important work while the plans for unification are being finalised. Your membership will be transferred to the new unified body when it is formed in 2009.

More information

This is the first of a series of free monthly e-newsletters about Angling Unity. To sign up to receive future editions, or for more information about unification, please visit www.anglingunity.co.uk

Spread the word

Friday, May 16, 2008

UK Bass Stocks Are Collapsing

Recent scientific evidence shows that UK bass stocks are collapsing.

Bass Society demands urgent government action.

John Leballeur, Chairman of the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (BASS) Restoration Project Team says “In over 20 years of bass sampling I have never seen a period when the numbers of young bass have been so low for so long”.

Shocked by the emerging evidence the society has written to Jonathan Shaw, the UK Fisheries Minister, demanding urgent measures to halt the disastrous collapse, demanding that both the recreational and commercial bass fisheries are closed during the 3 month breeding season when spawning congregations of bass are particularly vulnerable, and suggesting the establishment of designated Marine Protection Areas designed to protect bass stocks.

Recommended as a species to be regarded as recreational only in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Units ‘Net Benefits’ report, bass was recently described by the current Fisheries Minister as ‘an important displacement species’ for the hard pressed commercial fishing industry when the Minister cancelled measures designed to protect the species last year, despite the superior value of the UK recreational bass fishery.

Even some commercial fishermen have since expressed concerns at the present unsustainable level of exploitation.

In his letter to the Minister, as well as offering the new evidence, John Leballeur points out to the Minister that he now faces a catastrophe on his watch as Fisheries Minister, unless he acts with urgency to bring in effective measures to protect the species.

Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS)
Conserving the UK’s Greatest Sportfish

BASS is the society which promotes the interests of its members and bass anglers throughout the United Kingdom, seeking to influence Government policy to manage the UK’s valuable Recreational Bass Fishery to provide more and bigger fish.


Since 1984 members of the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society have collected information each year from estuaries such as the Tamar on the numbers of juvenile bass which are present.

The young fish are caught in nets from the same place at the same time each year to measure abundance and to estimate how healthy the bass populations will be in future years.

A variety of factors govern how many young bass survive including winter estuary water temperature, natural predation and food availability. Cold winters can significantly decrease the survival chances of young fish.

The numbers of young fish captured each year naturally fluctuate. In some years the numbers of young bass are low whilst in others it can be high. In general, where there are large numbers of young bass caught, it indicates that there will be a lot more fish maturing seven years later. Often these years of high abundance are reflected in later years by an increased abundance of larger bass caught from coastal waters.

In the period 1984-1986 the populations of young bass recorded from estuaries was very low due to very cold winters. In response to this the government introduced measures to protect bass to keep populations healthy.

Between 1986 – 2006 the numbers of young bass recorded from the Tamar have fluctuated each year. However, since 2000 the netting samples from this Westcountry estuary have shown a very worrying continual downward trend.

Between 1985 and 2006 there were 11 years where the numbers of young bass recorded each year were below average. Of most concern is that five of these poor years all fell between 2000 – 2006. Since 1984 when recording first began, there has not been another period where the numbers of young bass in the Tamar samples have been so low for so many years in such a short period.

John Leballeur of BASS who co-ordinates the sampling for young bass is very worried about what these results mean :

“In over 20 years of bass sampling I have never seen a period where the numbers of young bass have been so low for so long. With warmer winters giving ideal conditions for the survival of young bass and defra telling us that the spawning stock is healthy, we should be seeing healthy juvenile populations. I am very concerned that what we may be seeing are the first signs that adult spawning bass have been over fished from the Western Approaches and from autumn inshore marks, significantly reducing the number available to spawn and sustain healthy populations in south coast estuaries. Inshore fisherman who have run out of quota species have now upped their effort on bass which is also not helping matters “

Also I believe that the biomass has in fact halved since in recent years and not doubled as Jonathon Shaw was advised in the recent bass mls decision .
A consequence of the poor recruitment will be that, in a short time, the stock will decline further and catches by the much-increased fleet that fish for bass will exacerbate this. The fishery will then become uneconomical, or collapse, as has been seen with so many other stocks of fish.

I ask the Fisheries Minister to consider a closure in the breeding season for all stakeholders commencing in February 2009 for three months of each year so as to address the balance and also make the main offshore bass fishery area a Marine Protected Area to run parallel with the closed season. The breeding stock and cessations would be protected during the main reproduction cycle. All stakeholders would benefit by this precautionary measure and we would not witness the collapse in the bass fishery some years down the line. Another benefit would be the protection of cetaceans that have shown unacceptable losses due to this fishery.

Alarm bells are ringing loud and clear and the pre-recruitment survey indices are an accurate barometer of the future spawning stock.

Open Letter to Jonathan Shaw MP

Bass Recruitment Failure 15th May 2008

Dear Jonathan Shaw
Fisheries Minister

When you took office you inherited the postponed decision from your predecessor, Ben Bradshaw, of the BASS MLS (Minimum Landing size).

After a long drawn out consultation, which received over 2800 responses of which 85% were in favour of increasing to 45 cms, this was diluted down to 40 cm as a result of pressure from the commercial < 10m catching sector whilst ignoring RSA's desire for more and bigger fish.

You took the opportunity of meeting both the commercial catching sector and RSA before making the decision not to increase the MLS. You were advised that the bass biomass had doubled since the 1980s and the fishery was being fished sustainably. You stated that you did not want any collapse whilst on your watch, however, there is a danger that, in the English Channel, this may soon be the case. I have enclosed two CEFAS documents; one is a graph displaying the bass pre-recruit index for the Solent, Thames and Tamar of both '0' group and '1' year old bass sampling survey results, together with the worked up data from the named locations.

On examining the recruitment indices for the period 1989 – 1999 and also from 2000 until last year.

1989 – 1999 = 1.42 Average
2000 – 2005 = 0.60 * There is no up to date survey information for the years 2006 or 2007

1989 – 1999 = 1.22 '0' Groups 1989 – 1999 = 1.34 '1 yr olds'
2000 – 2007 = 0.76 " 2000 – 2007 = 0.87 "

2000 – 2007 Average 1.45 This is a relative new sampling site, when compared to the Solent & Tamar whose records commenced in 1977 & 1984 respectively.

The Tamar clearly shows the failure of the recruitment for the years of 2005 – 2006 and last year 2007, which is also indicated by the Solent provisional figures and graphs, which samples 2 yr old fish and above. These figures suggest the beginning of a decline for the Solent, which is two years behind the up to date sampling data of the Tamar. These figures clearly demonstrate that recruitment has halved since the 1990's .

The last time we witnessed these figures and circumstances was in 1985 – 1986 – 1987 when MAFF immediately implemented the precautionary approach and increased the MLS and introduced the nursery area legislation.

We have had no up to date landing figures from IFREMER, France regarding the winter offshore fishery for a number of years since the last ICES BASS conference study in 2004, who concluded that fishing effort should be capped to the year 2000 and average for the preceding five years. This has never been implemented and effort has significantly increased since. Global warming has contributed to warmer winters, and higher sea temperatures around our shores for some time now, yet we are witnessing the failure of the recruitment year classes in the English Channel and Western approaches at a time when, according to scientists, we should be seeing strong broods.

It is now very obvious that the increase in fishing effort and the reduction of the breeding stock is now seriously contributing to this state of affairs Also I believe that the biomass has in fact halved since in recent years and not doubled as you were advised. A consequence of the poor recruitment will be that, in a short time, the stock will decline further and catches by the much-increased fleet that fish for bass will exacerbate this. The fishery will then become uneconomical, or collapse, as has been seen with so many other stocks of fish.

I ask you to consider a closure in the breeding season for all stakeholders commencing in February 2009 for three months of each year so as to address the balance and also make the main offshore bass fishery area, a Marine Protected Area to run parallel with the closed season. The breeding stock would be protected during the main reproduction cycle. All stakeholders would benefit by this precautionary measure and we would not witness the collapse in the bass fishery some years down the line. Another benefit would be the protection of cetaceans that have shown unacceptable losses due to this fishery.

Alarm bells are ringing loud and clear and the pre-recruitment survey indices are an accurate barometer of the future spawning stock. You indicated at our first meeting that whilst you are on watch you do not want any catastrophes. Please treat this very seriously and urgently consider the above recommendations so as to address the last three years of recruitment collapse of bass.

I look forward to your speedy reply upon this matter.

Yours sincerely,

John Leballeur
Chairman of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing's Society Restoration Team.