Boycott threat over poaching
Angry anglers are prepared to boycott local fishing tackle shops that stock frozen coarse fish.The move follows revelations in a national newspaper that an estimated six million silverfish species annually are being plundered from the nation's rivers, broads and canals to meet a black-market demand for predator baits.
Angry anglers are prepared to boycott local fishing tackle shops that stock frozen coarse fish.
The move follows revelations in a national newspaper that an estimated six million silverfish species annually are being plundered from the nation's rivers, broads and canals to meet a black-market demand for predator baits.
Many other rodmen now want the authorities to ban the use of coarse fish as bait outright.
Allegations of unlawful fish poaching on an industrial scale were first revealed in the EDP more than a year ago, when the Stalham Angling Club discovered that thousands of roach populating the boatyard lagoons off the River Thurne at Potter Heigham, which members had hired for their autumn and winter fishing, had virtually disappeared overnight.
In the ensuing months, further instances of other local waters being plundered surfaced.
It has now emerged that illegal netting operations are nationwide, and the Angling Times has posted £10,000 reward for information leading to successful prosecution of the criminals.
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Former national and international angler Dave Docwra, of Yarmouth, who has been at the vanguard of the campaign to halt the systematic fish theft,s declared it was ridiculous to suggest that the source of the frozen fish baits were special fish farms.
He added: “Labels on packages do not mean a thing and in many cases the frozen roach, rudd, etc are pinned on plain, unmarked cards.
“There are two courses of action open to anglers who love their river fishing. Collectively we should demand a complete ban on the use of all coarse fish baits, and until this happens we should withdraw our custom from shops who continue to stock them.”
Some fishing tackle and bait dealers already concerned about these latest revelations say they will stop selling coarse fish rather than upset their regular customers.
Dave Playford, who runs a tackle shop at Fakenham, said he was appalled at the latest news of this black-market industry and said he would stop selling coarse fish at once.
“Obviously my customers who are fond of silverfish angling were not happy to read these reports, and nor was I,” he said.
John Lambert, of the Norwich Avenue Angling Tackle retailers, said most of his dead baits were sea fish, but he did keep a small stock of frozen coarse fish.
“After the reports in the local and national press I believe there is much for bait retailers to consider regarding future policy. I think I will limit my predator bait sales to sea fish, but actually I think the authorities should step in and relieve us of this burden and ban it all.”
At the big Angling Direct Tackle Centre in Norwich, a spokesman confirmed frozen coarse fish were in stock, but insisted they were supplied by fish farms.
Tony Gibbons, chairman of the Norwich and District Anglers Association, whose holdings on the Rivers Bure and Thurne appear to have been extensively targeted by illegal netting activities, said: “At last something may be done to stop our sport being wrecked. The Norwich Angling Association is the biggest in Norfolk and we would wholeheartedly support any move to ban the use of coarse fish as bait, alive or dead.”
The policy of imposing a three-month “close season” on the popular Taswood Fishery has paid handsome dividends for season and day permit holders, who have caught no less than 50 specimen carp weighing 20lb-plus since the lakes reopened for business on April 1.
Top fish reported during the bank holiday break was a splendid 30lb common carp for Caister's Darren Stamp with 13 other mirrors, commons and grass carp between 20lb and 27½lbs coming in during the long weekend.
At Swangey Lakes Sean Feeney of Norwich bagged the best, a 31lb mirror carp with others on the 30lb mark falling to regulars Richard Ince, Simon Stewart and Mark Adams plus 16 others from 20lbs to 29lb 10oz recorded.
Taverham Lakes' best was a 28lb 4oz mirror for Hellesdon's Kirk Phoenix, while at Burgh Castle Rob Miller of Gorleston bagged five double figure specimens the best a common of 28lb 14oz.
At Waveney Valley John Yaxley of Gorleston netted out 14 doubles headed by a 27lb mirror while at Cobble Acre the best mirror came in at 25lb 2oz for Paul Bean of Watton.
On the open match scene, the top return on the first leg of the Barford Five-Day Festival was 130lbs 3oz reeled in by Leicester's Alan Finlay, while the best of the club returns was bagged by Paul Ashford winner of the Jewsons at Colton, with 109lb 11oz.