Monday, March 31, 2008

An evening with the Don Valley SG

Rotherham & Sheffield Region are holding an evening with Bob Roberts and the Don Valley Specialist Group on Monday, April 6, at the Green Dragon Pub, Kimberworth.

Map Link

The evening will be split into 3 sections:
7:30 - 8:30 Video of Sturgeon fishing in Canada
8:45 - 9:30 Spring & summer specimen fishing
9:45 - 10:30 Autumn & Winter specimen fishing
10:45 Questions & answers

Rotherham and Sheffield Region's Phil Heaton said: "The DVSG: have prepared an outstanding presentation that takes 'slideshows' to a new level, all species are covered and although it mainly deals with coarse fishing it will be of interested to any angler.

"We are donating 50% of all the proceeds to The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity, which has a Sheffield branch:

"The evening will cost £4 (at the door), which includes a light buffet and a sniff of the barmaid's apron, but bring plenty of money as we are holding a raffle with loads of prizes."

Stark new warning for Broads

Baroness Young, the head of the Environment Agency, says sooner or later the Broads will be lost to climate change.

The catastrophe could take up to a century to arrive - or it could be as little as a year, the Telegraph reports tonight.

The stark warning comes as the number of people signed up to an online Save The Broads petition on Gordon Brown's 10 Downing Street website nudges 500.

Click here to read the latest reports in full.

Click here to sign the petition.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association wins second Awards for All grant.

Awards for All, the lottery grants for local groups programme, has awarded Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association (NACA) £5000 towards their continuing aims to develop participation and good practice in angling.

One of the aims of the Association is to encourage sound angling practice and fish care. The Awards for All grant will enable NACA to run a programme of events to help young and new anglers develop good practice and fish care skills coupled with a responsible and caring approach to angling and the environment.

NACA’s Award for All application met many of the lottery funds national and regional aims.

Funding will be allocated to the following;
  • A programme of First Aid, Child Protection and Fishery Management Training including specific individual training (i.e. brush cutting certification for bailiffs and volunteers)
  • An Open Day at NACA Bawburgh Lakes Fishery including coaching for children
  • Presentation Equipment including laptop, power point projector, projector screen and exhibition stands
Training of those involved in the local angling community and environment will help to make angling a safer place for all.

The NACA Open Day at the Bawburgh Lakes Fishery on Sunday 1st June 2008 is an opportunity for the surrounding community to gain an awareness of angling and the environment.

The IT equipment and exhibition stands will allow NACA to present their conservation message to anglers and the general public through open days, slideshows/ talks and a number of County shows.

For any further information please contact Dave Nelson on 01473 411686 or email dave.nelson2@ntlworld.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Save the Broads petition nudges 400

Nearly 400 people have now signed up to the PAC's Save the Broads petition.

We're campaigning against proposals to abandon coastal defences on the Norfolk coast, which would allow the Upper Thurne system and its historically-important pike fisheries to be flooded by the sea.

Hickling Broad, Horsey Mere, Heigham Sound and the Martham broads would be lost forever - along with six villages and thousands of acres of farmland.

Some interesting comments have been left on The Times newspaper's website, in response to a story detailing the plans today.

Pat Gowen, from the Norwich-based Marine Environmental Information Network, says: "Over the past 18 years the government has benefited by over £1.6 billion from the royalties and VAT provided from the 189 million tons of sand and shingle dredged from off the Great Yarmouth coastline alone.

"This is far more than enough to pay for the total protection of the entire UK coastline as well as providing compensation for those who have lost and are losing their properties and living because of the erosion resulting from this damaging commercial exploitive process.

"Over thirty per cent of the aggregate dredged off our coast has been exported to Holland, where such dredging is banned due to the erosion and fishing losses brought about were it so permitted.

"So why should the best part of Norfolk be abandoned ?"

Kevin Langley, from Ely, adds: "Well done the Pike Anglers club, 30 years of fighting for pike anglers and the fish they value, a club that cares about the environment."

To sign the petition, click here.

'Stand up and shout' to save the Broads

"If the people of Happisburgh have demonstrated one thing, it is that unless you stand up and shout loudly enough and over a long enough period of time, there is every likelihood you will be ignored," the Yarmouth Mercury observes today.

It goes on: "Whether that lesson will be learned by the thousands of people who could be affected, made homeless even, by a proposal to allow the North Sea to flood 6,500 hectares of Norfolk, remains to be seen."

Both the Mercury and Eastern Daily Press today feature stunned reaction from villagers whose first inkling their homes could be lost as coastal defences are abandoned to the sea was when they read it in the papers.

It comes as signatures to an online petition to Save the Broads topped 300.

Click here to read the Mercury report.

Click here to sign the petition to Gordon Brown, on the 10 Downing Street website.

Secret Broads plan leaked to papers

Reports discussed at a secret meeting which recommended allowing some of Norfolk's finest fisheries to be flooded by the sea have been leaked to local papers.

Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority met last month for talks on the future of the Upper Thurne and its broads.

They decided the sea should be allowed to breach coastal defences, flooding Hickling Broad, Horsey Mere, Heigham Sound and the Martham broads.

As the story hit the national media, officials claimed the plan was just one of four options under consideration.

A report in the Lowestoft Journal newspaper, said to be quoting from a leaked copy of the plan, claimed:

"The first option listed is to do nothing to adapt to climate change: to fail to maintain coastal defences and inland flood embankments, allowing them to fall into disrepair and be breached by the River Thurne and the sea.

"The second is to hold the line, the current policy of the Environment Agency. This involves maintaining the sea defences and flood embankments in their current positions. Under this option, saline intrusion - something all farmers fear - would get worse as sea water passes under the coastal dunes.

"The third option is to adapt the line: allow the sea to flood some places while building barriers and embankments to protect other parts.

"The fourth and final option is the most radical of all, and is described as the “embayment of the Upper Thurne”. Once the sea has penetrated existing coastal defences between Horsey and Winterton, the area immediately behind would flood as far as two “retreated defences” - think of them as sea walls, or even dams - built at Potter Heigham and Stalham."

Nearly 300 people have signed an online petition set up by the Pike Anglers Club, which has campaigned to protect the pike and pike fishing for more than 30 years.

As well as fisheries which have produced some of the largest wild pike ever caught in the British Isles, including three fish over 40lbs, the proposals would see the loss of internationally-important nature reserves, six villages and thousands of homes.

A Natural England spokeswoman quoted on The Times' website said the government-backed conservation quango wanted to start a debate over the plans and the best way forward for the broads, as sea levels rise and our coastline becomes more costly to defend.

The Pike Anglers Club has given the public to have their say by offering them the chance to sign its online petition, on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's 10 Downing Street website.

Last year, the 2,500-strong club helped villagers win a campaign to save Cambridgeshire's historic lodes.

Click here to sign the petition to save the Broads.

Click here for the Lowestoft Journal report.

Sacrifice Broads for 'right message'

Allowing parts of the Norfolk Broads to be flooded by the sea would send out "the right message" to the public about climate change, it was claimed last night.

Conservation groups have met in secret to discuss plans to abandon 15 miles of coastal defences which protect the Upper Thurne and its broads - along with six villages and thousands of homes.

Leaked details of the proposals - discussed in secret by Natural England, the Broads Authority and Environment Agency - have been revealed by The Times.

It quotes extracts of a paper it says was discussed at the meeting, which said: “The broads (Martham, Horsey, Heigham Sound and Hickling) would become inundated by the sea, fen vegetation would be lost. It is likely over time that a spit would develop behind which coastal and intertidal habitats would develop.

“The increasingly unsustainable nature of the Horsey to Winterton frontage beyond the next 20 to 50 years opens up the possibility of realigning the coast as described within this time frame. It can also be argued that by selecting a radical option now, the right message about the scale and severity of the impacts of climate change is delivered to the public.”

In the same report Martin George, a member of the Broads Society, said up to an eighth of the broads would be lost if the planned retreat went ahead.

A report on options for maintaining sea defences in the face of climate change is due to be delivered to the government in September.

The Pike Anglers Club fears historic fisheries could be lost. It has launched a petition to save them. By last night hundreds had signed it. Click here to join them.

Click here to read The Times report.

Friday, March 28, 2008

PAC welcomes call for Broads debate

The Pike Anglers Club welcomes Natural England's call for a debate over climate change and its likely impact on the Norfolk Broads.

It comes after it emerged a secret meeting between the government-backed conservation group, the Broads Authority and Environment Agency had agreed proposals to abandon coastal sea defences and allow the Upper Thurne and its broads, along with six villages, to be flooded by the sea.

Some of Britain's most historically-important pike fisheries are under threat from the plan, including Hickling Broad, Horsey Mere, Heigham Sound and the Marthan broads.

The PAC has launched an online petition, calling for the government to make funding available for maintaining sea defences, which are under threat from cuts to the Envrionment Agency's flood defence budget.

It believes the Broads - which stand to lose up to an eighth of their total area under the plan - should be protected.

A Natural England spokeswoman told the Daily Telegraph: Natural England apokeswoman said the "surrender" option was one of many and their report was intended to start a debate about facing up to climate change.

She said: "We have got to face up to the issue. We have got to have discussion. There are difficult decisions to be made and we have produced this report after lengthy research.

"It's one of a number of options for consideration and we're in the early stages of trying to decide what options to take."

Six entire villages would be lost within a generation if the defences along a low-lying area of coastline at Winterton were abandoned to the North Sea.

To date, people living in Eccles, Sea Palling, Waxham, Horsey, Hickling and Potter Heigham have not been consulted over proposals which would sound the death knell for their communities.

Click here to sign the PAC's online petition on the 10 Downing Street website.

Telegraph reports on threat to Broads

The Daily Telegraph tonight has a hard-hitting report on the threat to abandon the Upper Thurne and its broads to the sea. It claims up to an eighth of the Norfolk Broads could be lost if proposals agreed at a secret meeting between Natural England, the Broads Authority and Environment Agency are put into action.

Click here to read it.

Pikers' Save the Broads petition tops 250

A Pike Anglers Club petition to save the Norfolk Broads topped 250 signatures last night - as anger erupted over plans to abandon them to the sea.

Communities affected by proposals to allow the Upper Thurne and its broads to be flooded were not consulted when Natural England, the Broads Authority and Environment Agency discussed the plan behind closed doors.

The scheme would mean the loss of six villages and thousands of homes. as well as come of the finest pike fisheries in Europe and internationally-important nature reserves.

John Welch, of the Eastern Daily Press, wrote: "At least six villages wiped off the map, hundreds of people turned out of their homes and some of the Broads' best freshwater lakes swamped by sea water.

"Thousands of acres of agricultural land turned into mudflats, the loss of bird species such as bitterns, cranes and marsh harriers and the extinction of traditional crafts such as reed cutting.

"Unthinkable? Perhaps, but if radical proposals currently under consideration for the future of the Broads ever see the light of day, by no means impossible."

Click here for more, to sign the PAC petition click here.

Broads flood plan is devastating, warns MP

The full scale of plans to surrender flood defences on the Norfolk coast are revealed today. They would lead to the flooding of internationally-important pike fisheries on the Upper Thurne system and the loss of Horsey Mere, Hickling Broad, the Martham broads and Heigham Sound.

Twenty-five square miles of the Broads would be flooded by the sea, which would be allowed to breach coastal defences and flood inland as far as Potter heigham and Stalham.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb today said the plans were devastating. He told the Eastern Daily Press: "What shocks me is that profound, devastating implications are being discussed without the communities affected being part of the decision at all."

Click here to read the full story - EDP Reports

The Pike Anglers Club has launched an online petition to Save The Broads. Click here to sign up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PAC launches Save The Broads campaign

Anglers have launched a campaign to save some of Britain's most historic pike fisheries, after it was revealed they are under threat from plans to abandon coastal defences which protect parts of the Norfolk Broads.
Proposals to allow the Upper Thurne system to be flooded by the sea have been discussed by the Broads Authority, Natural England and the Evironment Agency.
If they are put into action, the 2,500-strong Pike Anglers Club fears Horsey Mere, Hickling Broad, the Martham Broads and Heigham Sound will be lost forever within a generation.
Whole villages and thousands of acres of farmland will also be flooded or turned into salt marsh.
PAC president Phil Wakeford said: "In 2007, we warned that historically important fisheries and nature reserves were at risk from proposals to cut sea defence budgets. Our worst fears have now been confirmed.
"While the Upper Thurne system is a unique fishery which has produced some of the biggest wild pike ever landed in the world, it also contains internationally-important nature reserves which are of key importance to over-wintering wildfowl.
"A number of villages will also be abandoned if this plan is given the go-ahead. We understand other options, including maintaining sea defences, were also tabled but rejected.
"We have today launched an online petition as the first stage of a campaign to save the Thurne and its broads. We call upon anyone who loves this unique environment to join us in the fight to save it."
Three record pike, each over 40lbs, were landed from the Thurne system, inspiring generations of pike anglers to visit Norfolk.
Pike fishing remains an important revenue earner for the county, along with bird watching.
The Pike Anglers Club has campaigned to protect the pike and pike fishing since it was formed in the Fens 30 years ago. Last year it helped villagers fight a successful campaign to save the Cambridgeshire Lodes.
The petition can be found on the Ten Downing Street website, click here to sign it. More information will be posted as we get it on the Save The Broads website. Click here to see it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Speakers confirmed for Piking 2008

Make note in your diary for Saturday, September 27th to ensure you can make it to Piking 2008 at the National Agricultural Showground, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.

We now have the full line up of speakers confirmed for what will be an even better show than last year's blockbuster. As well as Neville Fickling's Pike Panel there is an international flavour this year.

More details to follow, but for now we can tell you that Derek MacDonald will be speaking as will Graham Slater of Grantham, and from Europe there will be Michel Huigevoort of Holland and Sweden's P. A. Hogberg. This promises to be a great day with loads of pictures and tales of huge pike to whet your appetite for the start of the traditional pike season a few days later!

More details of the topics to be covered, and other activities on the day, will be posted here and on the main Piking 2008 page in due course.

See you all there!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

EA appeals for help with pike survey

Pike anglers are being asked to help a new research project into the decline of pike on Windermere.
The Environment Agency and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology are appealing for regulars to record their catches in specially designed log books.
Long-term research by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Freshwater Biological Association has shown contrasting trends in the lake’s north and south pike populations
Up to the mid 1980s, pike numbers and average weight were similar in the two areas but over the last two decades these important top predators have become relatively more common and heavier in the north of the lake.
EA fisheries officer Graeme McKee said: “Although pike are still more common and heavier in the north than in the south of the lake, since 2000 the number and average weight of even these fish have been declining. The long-term research is based exclusively on winter sampling and the aim of the log book scheme is to produce data on the number, size and condition of the fish all year round.”
All anglers who return their log books will receive a report summarising the overall findings. Angler’s personal details will remain confidential.
Ian Winfield, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said: “We know that Windermere is currently a very dynamic ecosystem. The condition of the lake’s pike populations, which sit at the top of the food chain, can tell us a lot about Windermere’s overall functioning and so guide us towards the best management for the area. The pike log book scheme will make a major contribution to this work.”
If you would like to take part in the log book scheme call Ben Bayliss or Debbie Davidson on 01768 215757

Mega moggy caught in Norfolk

A 100lbs-plus catfish has been caught on a lake in Norfolk, says the rumour mill tonight.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Lake of Dreams does it again

Scott Davidson with a stunning 32lbs 8oz pike caught yesterday during a PAC event on Lake of Menteith.

The fish topped an incredible haul of two thirties, 10 twenties, 30 doubles and more than 75 single-figure fish.

One of the biggest smiles belonged to disabled angler Darren Conroy, who took to the fishery's specially-adapted boat for wheelchair users and landed a new PB of 31lbs.

Events organiser Mark Skinner said: "After fears it was going to be cancelled due to high winds and adverse weather, the event went ahead and our members had another great day, with lots of PBs broken. Menteith has again lived up to its name of the Lake of Dreams."

For more information about the PAC and club events, click here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mentieth catch update - 2

Up to date captures include a first ever 30lber to Scott Davidson at 32lb 8oz, congratulations to Scott!!

Graham Slater has caught another 20 at 23lb+

Other news of captures to follow.

Mentieth catch update

After fears that the weather would make our event on Menteith a non starter, we are happy to say the event is in full swing.

As the wind is dying down the catches of pike are growing a couple of notable catches so far include a 21lber for club chairman and event marshal Colin Goodge.

Darren Conroy who is a member of region 88 and is utilising the disability boat has caught a stunning 31lb pike.

Fish are being caught all around the lake and a full update and report of catches will appear here once numbers and sizes are known.