Sunday, December 02, 2007

Think twice over culls, urges PAC

Fishery managers across the UK are being urged to think twice before culling pike.

Five hundred of them are being sent a booklet called Pike In Your Waters, which sets out the scientific case against culls.

The report was compiled by the Pike Anglers Club, which has campaigned to preserve the pike and pike fishing for 30 years.

It explains the vital role pike play in a vibrant, balanced fishery and why all culls usually achieve is an explosion of small pike and an even bigger problem.

Copies are being sent to every member of NAFAC - the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives - with their Winter Newsletter, which also features an article on pike conservation.

The club stepped up its campaign after details of a number of pike culls emerged.

"We're sorry to find that even in this day and age pike are still being killed because they are a conventient scapegoat," said chairman Colin Goodge.

"We're hoping fishery managers will read the booklet, weigh up the evidence for themselves and think twice before culling."

The PAC is meeting with Hadlow College, the Kent Fisheries Consultative and the Environment Agency to seek a more positive outcome for the River Darent, where a cull was carried out this season.

The action has won the backing of the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) and NAFAC.

SAA secretary Michael Heylin said: “SAA and PAC have worked together for many years to protect pike in our waters. The natural balance of waters is disturbed by man’s intervention, generally to the detriment of ecological balance.

"There is little point in all of us working towards stopping the illegal removal of fish from rivers when fishery managers themselves take short sighted views on predator populations and the results are then widely published on websites.”

NAFAC executive chairman Martin Read said: ‘Fisheries management activities are difficult to carry out in isolation, particularly on river systems.

"Hopefully a dialogue between all the interested will go a long way to achieve a better understanding and outcome in future."

Copies of Pike In Your Waters can be downloaded for free from the PAC website. Just click here to get a copy.