Tag Archives: fishing

Climate change – a real issue for the future of fish and fishing

12 May

Our fish face many threats, with which we are all too familiar.  Sewage and agricultural pollution, low flows in rivers, commercial overfishing at sea, and unsustainable predation are the rule rather than the exception.  This month I want to highlight the potential impact of a changing climate on fish stocks, and hence on the availability of quality fishing.  All serious scientists agree that global temperatures are rising as a result of human activity (burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests and releasing methane from agricultural sources).  Even if we take concerted global action, temperatures look set to rise by at least 2 degrees centigrade.  This may not sound much, but it will have disastrous consequences for our way of life, and on fish and fishing.

Many people think that climate change will only affect delicate fish like trout and grayling, but it will also have a huge impact on coarse fish as well.  One of the biggest threats to carp is Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) and the UK has seen numerous outbreaks of this vicious disease in recent years which have led to fisheries being closed and huge numbers of dead fish being dumped into the ground.  KHV thrives in warm water and all the recent outbreaks have coincided with years when summer temperatures have been slightly above average.

Rising temperatures will makes sea levels rise due to the expansion of sea water and melting icecaps, coupled with deeper low pressure systems which lead to storm surges.  In recent years, there have been more and more saltwater incursions to the Norfolk Broads, which have led to hundreds of thousands of coarse fish keeling over.  These incursions will become far more common in low lying areas and estuaries, which are often the most productive coarse fisheries.

The impact of climate on sea fishing is uncertain.  What is certain is that fishing will change as fish migrate to find optimum conditions.  It’s likely that warmer waters will cause more poisonous algal blooms, fuelled by fertilisers washed off farmers’ fields.  As crops fail, there will also be greater economic and political pressure to exploit fish stocks even more unsustainably to feed a growing global population.

River full of soil

The River Wye in spate, full of soil. This will only get worse with climate change.

Salmon are already nearing the edge of their natural range in the south of the UK.  Rising temperatures, coupled with low flows, could lead to their extinction in Southern England and Wales.  Sea survival of salmon has plummeted in the past 40 years from around 30% in the 1970s to a handful of percent today.  The truth is we don’t know why, but several years of skinny grilse indicated that the fish were going to sea and not finding the food they had come to expect over millennia due to a warming Arctic Ocean.  These fish have survived for millions of years through much bigger climate fluctuations than 2 degrees, but it’s the speed of modern climate change that makes it harder for them to adapt.  As they move further north, we lose a heritage and a tradition.

Once famous salmon rivers like the Tamar, Hampshire Avon, Test and Itchen could see their stocks wiped out within the lifetime of young anglers who are just learning the art of speycasting today.

All freshwater fish, and particularly sensitive species such as trout and grayling, will suffer from warmer water in the summer months.  As water temperature increases, oxygen levels plummet, and rivers and lakes are much more susceptible to pollution incidents.  Rainfall patterns are likely to change, with more intense rainstorms causing damaging floods which destroy fish eggs and wash fish downstream and onto floodplains where they die in the fields.  More sporadic rain will probably cause more droughts which concentrate pollutants, reduce dissolved oxygen, reduce the wetted area of riverbed which provides food, and give predators a field day.

To respond to this threat, the Angling Trust has joined the Climate Coalition, which is a group of diverse organisations calling for real action on climate change by governments the world over.  Of course, climate change should be of concern to us all because of the impact it will have on our lives in so many ways, but highlighting the potential damage to our precious fish and fishing is a way of demonstrating how far-reaching that impact will be.


We are therefore encouraging anglers to back this campaign to call on governments to help make nature more resilient to climate change by reducing other pressures on natural systems, and to take action to reduce emissions which are causing the world to warm.

We can’t any longer pretend that Climate Change isn’t going to happen, or that we are powerless to prepare for it.  We must all take urgent action to stop it being worse than it needs to be.

If you want to get involved in the huge Speak Up rally in London on Wednesday 17th June then please click HERE for more details. Why not go along and speak up for the love of fish and fishing.


A new dawn for online angling politics?

6 Jan
Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark LLoyd

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd

In the autumn, I wrote an editorial in our members’ magazine The Angler entitled “Let’s agree to disagree”. I had got frustrated with online angling forums which seemed to me to be damaging the reputation of angling in the public eye and stifling real debate because of the behaviour of a small, dominant minority who are intent on bickering with each other publicly. I was therefore delighted to read that World Sea Fishing is going to change the format of its political forums, which have all too often descended into a slanging match. You can read the announcement here http://www.worldseafishing.com/forums/threads/new-rsa-politics-forum.3123999/

Our sport faces some very serious threats, including crashing fish stocks, local angling bans, denial of access and a lack of recruitment of young people. How we respond to these threats requires serious discussion that is properly moderated. As the representative and national governing body for all forms of angling in England, working closely with our equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales, the Angling Trust is fighting for the interests of anglers every day.

When we meet Ministers and officials, we need to know what anglers really think. It is really useful to us to hear what sensible and serious people think. Our members frequently write to us with their views about what we should be doing for them, and we have a number of freshwater and sea angling regions around the country which hold meetings for our members to discuss issues of local importance to them. Over the past year, we have been campaigning hard and taking legal action on a whole host of issues which reflect what our members have told us they want us to do: bass stocks, access to angling, dredging, fracking, salmon stocks, cormorant predation, poaching, unlawful canoeing and many others. We will continue to do what we can to tackle the most important issues affecting fish and fishing.

When we meet with Ministers we need to know what you think

When we meet with Ministers we need to know what you think

Well-managed online discussions could be another tool to help us do our job even more effectively. Unfortunately there is a limit to the time we can spend participating in forums – we have very limited staff resources – but if they were run well and people stick to the rules, then they could make a positive contribution to discussion and highlight things that we need to take on.

Angling politics forums in the UK often make grim reading. Someone starts a thread and for the first few pages there is a perfectly reasonable discussion until two people disagree with each other so fundamentally that they launch into a tirade of personal insults and abuse. These spats can become long-running battles which spill into every other thread with which either of the people gets involved.

The end results are not only boring for the rest of us, but they destroy the foundation of reasoned debate and give an appalling impression to people who think that these views are representative of our community. These comments must surely make people who are getting into angling for the first time, and perhaps turning to forums for some helpful advice, think twice about taking up the sport.

I think it’s time to clean up our act, and I hope that this new forum will enable people who really care about the future of recreational sea angling to share their views without fear of harassment and participate in constructive and useful discussions about the future.

Now that World Sea Fishing Forums have changed their approach, perhaps others might follow suit? We’ll certainly be watching to see how it works in practice. Here’s hoping for a more harmonious and constructive debate in 2015!

With all best wishes for 2015 from everyone at the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.

Mark Lloyd

Chief Executive

Angling Trust & Fish Legal

Two early Christmas presents from the Angling Trust to you

23 Dec

This week I want to write about two new resources that the Angling Trust has made available to anglers, free of charge, on the internet.

1. First, there’s our new web site at www.fishinginfo.co.uk that we have produced in partnership with the Environment Agency and the Met Office. It has a massive amount information about fishing venues; angling clubs; tackle shops; river heights; and the past, present and future weather conditions. All this is set out in a brilliant mapping system that allows you to switch between aerial views and maps.  When I plan a fishing trip, I have to go to several web sites to get all the necessary information.  The idea of this site is that all those sites are combined into one to make it easier for more people to go fishing more often.  I’m know a lot about the fishing in my area, but found some new venues just a short drive from my house that I am now looking forward to trying out.


http://www.FishingInfo.co.uk – register for FREE and start saving your favourite fishing locations today!

We are just ‘soft launching’ this at the moment, to iron out any bugs and to get all the information on the site up to date.  Please check it out and if you spot a fishery, club or tackle shop with out of date information, then please use the Feedback option on each entry to let us know and we will update their details on the site.  Angling Trust member clubs, fisheries and trade members will get an enhanced listing and will be able to update their details online at any time.

We’ll then be launching the site in March 2014 and it will be publicised by email and post to all anglers who have bought a rod licence in the past two years.  This means that millions of anglers will be alerted to it, and we are likely to get a lot of hits, so if you own a fishery or tackle shop, make sure your website, phone number, opening times etc. are all up to date.

The Angler

The Angler – Autumn 2014 edition is now online!

2. One of the many benefits of being a member of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal is that you get sent our magazine twice a year, free of charge.  We have been putting a lot of work into making it more interesting and readable, based on feedback from our members and have also now put it online for the benefit of non-members as well.  You can read articles by angling luminaries such as Dave Harrell, Brian Clarke, Henry Gilbey and John Horsey here: The Angler online edition, as well as a review of campaign news from the Angling Trust and legal victories from Fish Legal.   We’re aware of some things which didn’t quite work, and we’ll be putting them right in the next copy due out in the spring, but the latest edition, which runs to 76 pages, is the best we have ever produced.  Please send any feedback to admin@anglingtrust.net and this will be useful to us as we work on the next edition.  If you want to get the paper copy of the magazine, please join us at www.anglingtrust.net/join or sign someone else up as a last minute Christmas present!

Finally, I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a very Merry Christmas and a Fishy 2014.  I’ll be writing a review of 2013 and a look forward to next year in a week’s time, so come back and visit then.  Thanks to all of you who have supported us with membership and donations and for those who haven’t, how about making that one of your new year resolutions?

p.s. Don’t forget you can also keep in touch with what is going on with the Angling Trust via our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnglingTrust and also via our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/AnglingTrust .

Your Help Needed! Wales Omits Fishing From Outdoor Activity Survey

17 Sep

All too often we find that angling is overlooked by government officials when they are making decisions that affect our future. Something like this has just been brought to my attention that I need your help with urgently if you’ve ever fished in Wales (and please forward this to anyone you know who has). All you have to do is complete a 5 minute online questionnaire before the 20th of September to remind the Welsh Assembly Government that angling is one of the most popular outdoor pursuits.

We have recently been alerted to a survey of outdoor activity in Wales that is being carried out by the Welsh Assembly Government which does not include angling as one of the activities. It is very important that the Government is made aware of the importance of fishing to the local economy at the moment, particularly as it is currently considering bringing in new legislation to introduce universal access for canoes to all rivers in Wales.

If you, or anyone you know, has fished in Wales in the past year, please complete the survey and enter “Angling” in the “Other” box at the bottom of the list of possible activities and then describe how much you have spent on recent fishing trips.

It really does take only 5 minutes and you don’t have to give your name or e-mail address if you don’t want to (but you can win a voucher of £100 for outdoor activities or goods if you do).

It is ridiculous that angling has been excluded from this survey. Government agencies need to wake up the fact that angling is practised by 3 million voters, generates £3.5 billion for the UK economy and employs 37,000 people. Anglers are expert at concealing themselves when they are fishing to avoid scaring the fish, but we must stand up and be counted to ensure that our interests are respected by policy-makers and politicians.

Wales Outdoor Activity Tourism Visitor Survey

The link to the survey for individual anglers is here: http://visitwalesindustry.co.uk/t/FO5-1R0MK-6Q1M4T-QUEU9-1/c.aspx

Wales Outdoor Activity Tourism Business Survey

If you run a club selling day tickets, or a fishery, please click here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/walesoutdooractivitytourismbusiness?dm_t=0,0,0,0,0

Thank you for your help.

Join our Campaign to Stop Google Ripping Off Anglers

27 Aug

The Angling Trust has continued its high profile campaign against internet rod licence rip-offs and last week we again slammed Google for advertising web sites which take advantage of hard-pressed anglers trying to buy a rod licence by charging them a £20 administration fee for a £27 rod licence, despite offering no additional service whatsoever.

The internet giant had taken down the adverts when the scam was taken up by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, but they have since re-appeared. Searches for “buy rod licence” or “fishing licence” on Google generate a list of results that is headed up with sponsored links to the offending sites – rodlicence.net and rodfishinglicence.com. The only place where anglers should buy a rod licence on-line currently is from www.postoffice.co.uk or alternatively over the counter in a Post Office.

We raised this issue back in March, and we’re very concerned that the sites might be affecting rod licence sales because unsuspecting anglers are finding that the cost of a licence has apparently rocketed when in fact it has been frozen for several years. A government ban on all marketing by its agencies in the past three years hasn’t helped either. This has reversed a decade of steadily-increasing rod licence sales and as a result revenues to the Environment Agency have been decreasing each year for the past two years. Because of the marketing ban, these unscrupulous companies are able to take advantage of anglers trying to buy their rod licence on the internet, and they pay Google a fee for every angler who clicks on one of the sponsored links.

Surely Google makes enough money without having to benefit from a scam that rips off hard-working men and women who are simply seeking to comply with the law and buy a rod licence to support the good work that the Environment Agency does to protect and improve our fisheries? Please join us by urging them to do the decent thing and remove the sponsored links to these appalling sites for good. It is suspicious that the sites were removed when Google’s spokesman was put on the spot on the radio, but then they mysteriously re-appeared a week or so later.

The Government must also lift the senseless marketing ban on the Environment Agency that stops it spending any money to promote licence sales. The rod licence income is vital to funding protection of our fisheries and supporting the work of organisations in the voluntary sector helping to deliver the National Angling Strategy. Anyone who knows anything about business will tell you that if you stop marketing a product, sales will fall, and that is exactly what has happened with rod licences.

Please take a moment to put “buy rod licence” into Google and if you come across these sites being advertised please use the quick and easy “Send feedback” option at the bottom of the screen to let Google know you are not happy to see these scammers being promoted.