The Fisheries & Angling Conservation Trust (FACT), the national umbrella organisation for fisheries conservation and angling, welcomes the Environment Agency report 'Putting pilot voluntary canoes access agreements in place'. It is seen as the most appropriate way forward to maximise opportunities for all water based recreation.
Angling receives just recognition for the substantial contribution it makes towards the maintenance and upkeep of rivers and the report highlights the need to ensure that this income is not jeopardised.
FACT has always argued that locally-negotiated voluntary access agreements are the only fair way forward for canoeists and need to be underpinned by fully-binding rules and regulations which riparian owners and fishery managers can be satisfied are both reasonable and enforceable. For these agreements to work canoeists must adhere to the terms, be individually identifiable and pay, as anglers do, for the right of access.
FACT is concerned the report fails to recommend that canoeists are individually identifiable and consequently is concerned that this will lead to difficulties in enforcing agreements.
FACT Chairman, Jim Glasspool, comments:
“FACT calls upon the British Canoe Union to support the principles contained in the report and to encourage those who it represents to abide by the access agreements. Commitment to the principles contained in the report is essential if progress is to be made on developing access agreements which are satisfactory for all the interests involved."