Coarse Fish Removal – New Byelaws To Protect Fisheries

The Environment Agency is advertising new byelaws to protect and improve coarse fisheries.

The proposed byelaws will prohibit anglers from taking –

· coarse fish from rivers -
     -except for 15 coarse fish of less than 20 cm per day;
     -1 pike of less than 65 cm per day;
     -2 grayling between 30 and 38 cm per day.

· coarse fish from stillwaters, except with written permission of the fishery owner or occupier.

· eel and shad from any water.

Adrian Taylor, Fisheries Manager at the Environment Agency says “Pike and grayling have historically been taken for the pot. We don’t want to stop this, nor do we want to stop predator anglers catching and using bait fish. However, we do want to prevent specimen coarse fish from being taken, to protect the valuable fisheries they support, whilst giving stillwater fisheries the option to allow fish to be taken. We also need to protect threatened stocks of eel and shad. We hope these byelaws achieve the right balance.”

“We need to work with the angling community to make the most of these new powers. We will guide  fishery owners and clubs to provide us with prompt, accurate information on where and when people are taking fish illegally to help focus our enforcement. We also want anglers to spread the word among their peers that mandatory catch and release is now the norm.”

The new bylaws have been drawn up in response to mounting concern among the coarse fishing community that fish removal can damage fisheries. The draft byelaws were put out to consultation over the summer and attracted over 800 responses.

Anyone wishing to see the byelaws can obtain a copy from the Environment Agency website (www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish), from any Environment Agency office or by phoning 0870 506 506. Objections or letters of support must be sent to Defra or the Welsh Assembly Government by 20 January 2010. After responding to any objections, the Environment Agency will formally apply to the Secretary of State and Welsh Ministers for confirmation. The Environment Agency plans to introduce the new byelaws in early 2010.