Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New campaign to warn off fish thieves

Conservation groups have launched a new campaign to stop fish being taken from Britain's lakes and rivers for food.

Foreign migrants from Eastern European countries are feared to be removing large numbers of pike, carp and other species from our waterways.

Many anglers fear lack of enforcement and differing bylaws in different regions have helped a free-for-all to flourish, with little being done to educate foreign anglers about the tradition of returning most fish alive.

Now the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust has launched signs with pictures warning fish should not be stolen, killed or cooked. They are similar to signs already being displayed at waters run by CEMEX Angling.

FACT chairman Jim Glasspool said: “We hope that these simple, new, signs will be used by clubs and fisheries as part of the ongoing education of recent arrivals to this country about our angling tradition of returning coarse fish."

Similar signs warn of the dangers of disposing of unwanted plants or non-native species, such as aquarium or pond fish which have outgrown their surroundings.

The first 5,000 posters have been sponsored by the Angling Trades Association (ATA).

Its chairman Sean O’Driscoll said: “I hope that these posters will educate those that are threatening our fish, fisheries and future.”

The campaign is being launched in time for Christmas, when Poles eat a traditional dinner called wigilia, which includes pike and carp dishes.

It has the backing of more than 20 leading angling bodies, representing both game and coarse anglers. They include the PAC, which is making copies available to download on its website.

For more information or to download copies of the posters, click here.