Monday, December 18, 2006

Stop poaching or we'll cull pike, warning

Management at Gartmorn Dam have sent out a chilling warning to pike anglers in an interview set to be published by Angling Times on Tuesday.

Chris Smith, fishery manager at the 167-acre trout water, said anglers from across the country have been targetting the water despite the fact that it was closed for fishing between October 5 and March 31.

The water, which has produced pike to over 40lb, is only open to pike anglers through membership of the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland, which has privileged access on the first and last weekends of its six month season.

“People are regularly trespassing on private property with their vehicles and vandalising the ropes set on anchors around the shore that we use to stop people poaching trout,” Mr Smith tells AT.

“The problem has got very serious. We are constantly having to move these people on and the police have had to become involved on a number of occasions.

“Our regular customers are sick and tired of the problem and are calling for us to cull these pike as that would undoubtedly provide the most effective solution to the problem.

“We don’t want to kill the pike stocks but if these people keep targeting the water then I fear we’ll be left with no other choice.”

AT is appealing for pike anglers to stay away from the potentially record-breaking water. The Peterborough-based weekly says it will not publicise any fish caught outside of the PAAS-arranged access dates.

The row over Gartmorn, which has been simmering all season, came to a head after a large catch of pike believed to have come from the water was featured in Anglers Mail.

Details of the water are widely available on the internet, where a heated debate over the ethics of poaching it has been going on.

The PAC has appealed to management not to cull the pike. It told AT it was carrying out its own enquiries into what had happened on the water and could not comment further until these were concluded.

The crisis comes just days after forthcoming fisheries legislation was changed to include a blanket ban on livebaiting across Scotland.