The Angling Trust has learned that the Environment Agency has granted licences to the Small Hydro Company, working with British Waterways, for two hydropower plants on the river Trent at Sawley and Gunthorpe which allow up to 100 fish – including eels – to be killed at each of two plants in any 24 hour period.

Angling Trust fishing newsWhile this doesn’t suggest that the Environment Agency (EA) is directly licensing the killing of fish, it appears to allow the developers to keep generating even where fish are being killed – except where they exceed the 100 mark in 24 hours. The licence also allows up to 10 game fish to be killed in a 24 hour period before the turbines are stopped. Eels are particularly vulnerable to turbines because of their length and their ability to get through screens designed to protect fish (see picture).

European eel stocks are at an all time low. In response, the Environment Agency has recently banned anglers and commercial eel fishermen from taking eels, and on the Trent there is a ban on any eels being taken above the tidal limit at any time. In this context, the Angling Trust finds this decision to allow so many fish to be sliced up in hydropower turbines in a year perverse. In 2005, only 140 Kg of silver eel were caught in the lower Trent for the whole year; these turbines could legally destroy a far greater number.

The hydro schemes also sit uneasily with the UK government’s obligations under various EU laws which require the EA to protect and enhance fisheries, including the Water Framework Directive.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said “We have a situation here where one EA Department has introduced measures to protect the eel, which we support, and another department has given permission for a development which could see eels and other fish slaughtered in massive numbers. Could government be any less joined-up? Hydropower developments should not be licensed to kill; they must be designed so that they don’t damage fish and their habitats.”

Alan Butterworth, technical director at the Angling Trust added: “Current research, and a Europe-wide working group on eels, recommends a screen gap of no more than 15mm to safeguard migrating silver eels, and the Agency's own hydropower Good Practice Guide stipulates 12.5mm for the type of turbine to be used at Gunthorpe and Sawley. The screens proposed have a 20mm wide gap, which would allow eels to enter the turbine channel where they are at risk of being mutilated or killed.”

Fish Legal – the legal arm of the Angling Trust – is now considering a case against the EA on behalf of a member club whose fishing will be damaged by the scheme. The Angling Trust has recently made a series of detailed proposals to change the EA’s guidelines to developers of hydropower schemes.

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The Angling Trust’s legal arm – Fish Legal – has welcomed the recent order from the Information Commissioner for the Environment Agency (EA) to release pollution records and monitoring data for the River Test. The EA had repeatedly refused to provide the information on the grounds that supplying it would be ‘manifestly unreasonable’.

Angling Trust fishing newsFish Legal – whose lawyers provide free legal support to more than 900 member clubs, riparian owners and syndicates throughout the UK – regularly asks the EA for its monitoring data, fisheries records and details of investigations into pollution incidents using the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
In the 2008 season, stretches of the river Test became discoloured. Losing confidence in the EA’s investigation into the potential sources of the pollution, members called on Fish Legal for help.

Fish Legal then asked the EA for reports and data in order to gain a better understanding of the threats facing this section of one of the most well-known chalk streams for fishing in the UK, if not the world.

The EA’s web site indicates that this information should have been readily available:
“The Environment Agency is an open and transparent organisation. We have always recognised the vital role that access to information plays in helping us achieve our goals. Such access is essential to the credibility of our regulatory functions. As we rely on your power and influence to help us achieve sustained environmental improvements, we will ensure that you have up-to-date environmental information available. We therefore encourage you to seek information from us.”

In any case, a public authority would be obliged to provide environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations. However, there are certain ‘exemptions’ which an authority can use to avoid its statutory obligation to release documents. The EA refused to provide the information as it argued it would take too much time and place a ‘manifestly unreasonable’ burden on their employees. The EA also said that a cost of up to £2,000 would be incurred when responding, but this charge was soon retracted when challenged.
Believing that the EA was cynically using exemptions under the Regulations to avoid scrutiny of their work, and fearing that the EA could use the same arguments in the future, Fish Legal referred the refusal to the Information Commissioner’s Office in June 2009.

In its formal Decision Notice, the Information Commissioner agreed with Fish Legal that the EA had behaved unlawfully.

The Commission‘s damning Decision:
• Referring to the claim by the EA that it would take between 60 and 90 hours to respond to the request, the Information Commissioner found that the Agency had “failed to provide convincing evidence that its estimates are reliable or reasonable under the circumstances”.
• For example, records which the EA had claimed would take 10 minutes each to read through would, in the Information Commissioner’s view, take “at most 1 minute to read through, and in some cases only seconds”. The estimate given by the EA, that simply extracting the information would consume 26 hours of Agency staff time, was, in fact, a gross exaggeration.
• Commenting on arguments put forward by the EA that field staff would have to be taken away from their normal duties to search for the information, the Commissioner found no evidence for such a claim. Furthermore, the Commissioner felt that with a staff of over 13,000 the EA was “best placed to deal with requests of this size”.
• The Commissioner found that the volume and complexity of a single request was not an applicable ground on its own to apply the “manifestly unreasonable” exemption, as there were already provisions allowing an extension of time to respond to large and complicated requests. This undermined the entire basis for the EA’s arguments for avoiding disclosure, notwithstanding its failure to assess the time for responding accurately.
• The Commissioner considered that attempts by an angling club to access existing monitoring and fisheries data in order to take “proactive steps to ascertain risks and dangers to the river prior to further incidents occurring” was “an example of the environmental information regulations being used to ‘best effect’”. The Commissioner stressed that the regulations were provided precisely to allow members of the public to have a say in how well their environment was being protected.
• The Information Commissioner highlighted the importance of the River Test not only for fishermen but also for the many businesses – including hotels, fishing guides, restaurants and associated services – which rely on its reputation to attract visiting anglers.

Justin Neal, Head Solicitor at Fish Legal, said:
“We were amazed at the EA’s use of the ‘manifestly unreasonable’ exemption, which is usually reserved for the vexatious litigant or serial complainer, not the legal arm of the national representative and governing body for angling. Due to the importance of accessing environmental information for our work on behalf of our members, we pushed for a formal Decision Notice to ensure that this exemption could not be misused by other regional EA teams in the future.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said:
“With the support of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, angling clubs and riparian owners play a vital role reporting, investigating and tackling pollution problems at a local level, to protect the rivers they treasure. These roles look set to be formalised as part of the Government’s Big Society agenda and the Environment Agency’s unwarranted secrecy was standing in the way of this. We are pleased that the Commissioner has highlighted the importance of allowing angling clubs and riparian owners access to monitoring data so that they can play their part in improving our rivers for fish and other wildlife. We look forward to receiving promptly the information we requested nearly a year and a half ago which will allow us to understand better some of the potential threats facing the River Test.”

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Having recently returned from fishing in the World Nations Championship in Merida, Spain, as part of gold-medal-winning Drennan Team England, Will Raison has pledged his support for the Angling Trust by becoming a life member of the recently-formed governing and representative body for coarse, game and sea angling.

Angling Trust fishing newsWill is a highly popular and successful match angler who has won gold and silver in the World Championships in previous years. He has produced a series of DVDs and is a consultant for tackle giant Daiwa.

The Angling Trust was formed in 2009 following a merger of all the old angling organisations to create a single voice for all angling. The organisation manages many national competitions and the international teams, including Drennan Team England.

Will Rasion joins Angling TrustWill is a very welcome addition to the individual membership numbers which now stand at 13,500, of which 1,620 have signed up for life membership. He encouraged others to join the new organisation: "I would urge every serious angler to join the Angling Trust for the membership benefits and more importantly to protect the future of our sport. Angling needs a strong and well-funded voice to fight for anglers' rights, for the protection of our waters and fish, and to ensure that more young people get into angling. The Angling Trust does a huge amount for angling, but with more members it could do even more. Join today!"

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: "Will Raison is one of the best anglers on the planet and we're all delighted and honoured that he has pledged his support to the Trust. It's great to see such a high profile and successful angler becoming a life member and supporting our work. I hope that many others will follow his example."

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The Angling Trust is delighted to announce that it has secured the biggest cash injection into International Coarse angling in a generation, in the form of a very generous donation of £40,000 to support some of the International Coarse Angling teams. The teams will be U14s, Ladies, Veterans and Anglers with Disabilities. Durham based HV Power Electrical Systems have very generously offered to fund these teams after an appeal by the Angling Times in conjunction with Angling Trust.

Angling Trust fishing newsStuart Porter, Managing Director of HV Power Electrical, who is a keen angler, came forward to support this great cause after reading in the Angling Times that the teams did not have sponsorship to support them in fishing the International Championships. Stuart has also promised to offer a similar level of funding for the International teams to participate in 2011. Next year the teams will all be competing in all disciplines in Italy for the World Angling Games Championships, and with this new funding the Angling Trust can now create an U14s International team to participate in 2011.

This donation is without doubt one of the biggest that angling has ever received to support our English teams fishing overseas. Without this fantastic sponsorship from HV Power Electrical, these teams would not be able to participate as Angling Trust relies very heavily on sponsorship for teams to take part at international level.

Stuart Porter said “We are just ordinary blokes who want to put something back into angling. My business partner, Alan Hardy puts funding into his passion, greyhound racing, so I thought I should do my bit for my sport - angling”.

In recent year’s, because of money being injected into the sport, the European teams have begun to overtake the England teams in their results, but it is hoped with this fantastic donation that will now see all the English teams competing at the highest level in the future and coming back with even more medals.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Angling Trust stated “This is a great leap forward for Team England, and for angling as a whole. We’re also very grateful to Angling Times for publicising our appeal. Plans are currently being developed for the funding of all coarse, game and sea competition angling at an international level over the next decade”.

Dick Clegg, OBE, International Events Manager said “this donation by the sport’s new benefactor will enable the teams to approach each contest in a more professional manner. England will now be in a position to compete at the highest level in the Veterans, Disabled and Ladies World Championships, after playing the poor relations to some of our European cousins for many years. The fantastic financial arrangement with HV Power Electrical Systems has guaranteed the involvement of these teams for the next few years, and I would personally like to thank Stuart and his company for their support. I am sure their generosity will enable us to win more medals.”

We will now also be looking at developing a system which will enable us to select a team of under 14's to compete at world level from next year”.

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Friday, 30 July 2010 20:35

More Gold for England's Anglers

England won the Home International Youth Fly-fishing Championship held at Grafham Water on Wednesday..

Angling Trust Fishing NewsIt was a breezy day which made conditions very demanding for all 56 competitors who fished from boats drifting 'loch-style' in the waves (anchoring is not allowed) but a lot of hard practice over the past three months paid off for England on the 1,500 acre Cambridgeshire reservoir. All of the 14 England team members caught fish, with John MacIntosh from Lancashire taking the individual champion trophy as well.

This follows England's victory in Wales last year. England's youth squad are hard to beat on their home waters having won 4 out of 5 Internationals fished in England over the past 18 years.

At the presentation dinner Team Captain, Matthew Kidd from Plymouth, praised the dedication of the whole team and the tremendous support from team manager Rob Edmunds and coach Phil Longstaffe over the past year. A team of six will fly out to Slovakia for the World Youth Rivers Championships next week.

The England Youth Flyfishing Association, which manages the team and this year’s international expects to become part of the Angling Trust's competition and performance structure later this year.

1. England 63 fish for 121lb 3/4oz
2. Ireland 39 fish for 70lb 123/4oz
3. Scotland 31 fish for 60lb 13/8oz
4. Wales 19 fish for 34lb 43/4oz

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Local pub team Four Ashes AC went one better than their Division Three runner up position on the Staffs-Worcs Canal in 2008 by taking the Angling Trust Division Two National Championship winning title in style on the Erewash Canal from Cotmanhay to Trent Lock, Derbyshire.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsCaptained by Paul Turner, the Wolverhampton based squad tore the match apart with a great percentage of high points section scorers in their 444 points match winning total. Keeping the emphasis in the West Midlands, Birmingham based Sensas Dams and Lock were the runners-up with 427 points whilst Maver North West slotted into third place with 391 points. Paul Turner paid tribute to his team and said, “The lads were basically left alone to sort out their own pegs; we found out plenty in practice, especially the areas to put chopped worm in and the areas not to. While I have the chance, on behalf of all our Four Ashes AC team I would like to thank the Angling Trust for their top organisation, - it really is a thankless task.”

The Division Two Individual Champion on the day was Steve Winter (Maver Bait Tech). Steve has had a lot of top results recently and it comes as no real surprise that he once again put in a superb effort to top the five hundred and fifty entry with 9kg 80g. Steve, a Boston based printer, drew peg K1 by the garages on Lock Lane. With continuous pegging in this area it was not an end draw but Steve set off at a blistering pace, netting a 6 oz rudd first on squatt. When he reached 120 fish he went on to his chopped worm line which was solid with perch. He had a good run of them, some to over 1 lb and a 2 lb 8 oz tench thrown in for good measure before things petered out. A lady on the far bank told Steve that she feeds the roach on a daily basis on his peg right by a lily pad. With the match well into the fourth hour he fed a bit of hemp in the said area and with an hour to go put together 5 – 6 lbs of roach to complete a fantastic day and a fantastic win with 9k080.

Runner-up Steve Ashcroft (Railway AC Sale) had an incredible start on E50 at Sandy Bottom. He tried an experimental put in with worm and his float dived under and bream number one was soon in the net; this happened the next two put ins as well! He then had to feed and picked off odd bream and skimmers to end up with 8kg 880g and a close second place. Next to Steve was Dave Yardy (Eastern MG) who picked off a few bream from the same shoal, to end with 6kg 500g. Craig Mather (Reddish AC) slotted into fourth place from K27, Lock Lane with 5kg 800g of tench and skimmers on worm.

Individuals. Steve Winter (Maver Bait Tech) 9kg 80g; Steve Ashcroft (Railway AC Sale) 8kg 880g; Dave Yardy (Eastern MG) 6kg 500g; Craig Mather (Reddish AC) 5kg 800g; Neil Mallinson (Wakefield AC) 5kg 600g; Mark Brennan (Preston Innovations Thatchers) 5kg 370g; Aaron Morton (Measham and District AC) 5kg 220g; Dave Shults (Team Raiders) 4kg 450g; Phil Turner ( 4kg 360g; Wayne Swinscoe (Maver Bait Tech) 4kg 240g.

Ten teams were promoted to the Angling Trust National Championship on the New Junction Canal, Doncaster on Saturday 6th August 2011, they are; Four Ashes AC 444; Sensas Dams and Lock MG 427; Maver North West 391; Newton Le Willows AA 386; Maver Bait Tech 384; Macclesfield Waltonians 370; Wellingborough Nene AC 366; Tri-Cast Highfield 364; Sensas North West 359; and Browning Central 356. 

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179 young anglers took part in the Angling Trust Cadet, Junior & Intermediate National Championships on Saturday 3rd July on the Trent and Mersey Canal in the Willington area of Derbyshire.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsThere were just two teams that took part in the Cadet section with Worksop and District AA, managed by Doreen Butt, taking the Cadet Championship title by just one point with 16 points from Smartbait Leeds who had won this title for the last four years. Doreen said “I am thrilled to bits with the win, as we have only kept one of the existing team members from last year and the rest of the youngsters are all new”. The Cadet winner was Harry Keedy (Smartbait Leeds) with 930g. Harry was fishing his fourth National and caught fifty small fish on squatt and pinkie from the far side of the canal. In second place was Reece Keirnon (Worksop & District AA) with a very similar net of small fish scaling 880g. There was a triple tie for third place on the day with Jake Hodgkiss (Worksop and District AA), Adam Thorne (Smartbaits Leeds) and Daniel Slack (Worksop and District AA) all weighing 340g.

Angling Trust Cadet, Junior & Intermediate National Championships The Junior age group attracted eleven teams of six with the match being fished in the Stenson and Swarkestone area. Local team Pride of Derby AA took gold with 53 points which proved to be too good for Tameside Fox Gold in second place with 49 points, leaving Maver Farnborough on 46 points (3kg 980g). The winning Junior was Jake Gallacher (Maver Farnborough) with eighty small squatt fish for 1kg 500g and in second place with a very similar net was Joe Kent (Wakefield AC) 1kg 480g. Matthew Ebbrell (Tameside Fox Gold), with 1kg 310g, came in third place also with small fish on squatt.

The Intermediate section attracted sixteen teams of six and ended up with Wakefield AC winning the gold medal with 87 points, and the Pride of Derby AA Juniors with 75 points in second place, and Smartbait Leeds Gold in third place with 68 points. This match was fished by Castleway Bridge and Josh Reynolds (Wakefield AC) had the top score with a well earned weight of 4kg 20g to take the winning individual title. Josh drew in the row of trees on the bend, on the Alrewas side of the bridge, where he fished chopped worm and caster to take chub to 2 lb and a few perch. In second place was Tom Sharpe (Barnsley and District AC) who was near the Findern Bridge where again chopped worm and caster did him proud, netting chub and perch for 3kg 450g. Eric Yeomans (Pride of Derby AA) came in third place with 2kg 880g of chub, skimmers and perch.

Unfortunately the entry was a little down on last year, but the three age groups showed considerable skill and there was visible proof that the future of match fishing is in very safe hands.
Angling Trust would like to thank the Pride of Derby AA for providing the venue for the event, and also for the reduced peg fees during practice. John Aldred of the Pride of Derby AA was a tremendous help in the run up to the event clearing and strimming pegs and also on the day. We would also like to thank Stenson Marina and the Bubble Inn at Stenson for all their help in making this a successful National Championship event.

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The England Youth U22s were well represented in this year’s World Championships in Mantova, Italy on 24th & 25th July, scooping team Bronze, with Matt Godfrey taking the Individual Silver. The venue was technically very difficult and the correct balance between big carp, catfish and bream had to be found, with the big shoals of small skimmer bream averaging just 15g each.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsDay 1 saw a great team effort amassing a 12 total with Matt Godfrey winning his section with a staggering 260 fish for 4.95 Kg, 100 more fish than anyone else in the field. Seconds came from Matt Derry and Callum Dicks, and a 6th from Ricky Hines, who drew the wrong end of the end section. These performances helped us into second place and 2 points behind Serbia, whose big fish approach worked well.

Day 2 saw a controversial start when it became clear that France, Serbia, England and Holland, the top 4 teams, were all on adjacent pegs in every section, leaving Italy in the other half of the section with none of the main contenders to compete against. They made the most of it, scoring just 7 pts for a winning total of 22 pts.

Team England came in with another great 13pts, Matt Godfrey 2, Cameron Hughes 2, Matt Derry 4, Callum Dicks 5 for 25, tying with Serbia and Slovenia, but being beaten by Serbia by 900g. We were 3Kg ahead of Slovenia.

Matt Godfrey scooped silver with 3 points but was beaten by Dutchman, Sjors Milder on the same 3 pts, but with a 500 g weight advantage.

Mark Downes, England U22s Manager said “All in all a great result for the team, and with just a little luck we could have done a memorable double.”

Dick Clegg, OBE, International Events Manager stated “Once more England has proven at all levels that they are the team to beat in World Angling. By finishing 3rd in the U22s and with the ever consistent Matt Godfrey adding another medal to his trophy cabinet, we can all be proud of their achievements”.

England U18s team finished 6th at this year's World Championships on Canale Fissero Tartaro in Mantova, Italy in one of the closest finishes for years. Unluckily, England did not draw one of the eight end pegs available over the weekend, which had a huge influence on the final result.

Fishing the whole week in 35 to 40 degrees heat, this year's very young team proved themselves to be very efficient anglers drawing with Italy on points but losing out on weight. A total of 17 teams fished the Championships with Portugal winning the Gold medal with 29pts.

Individual placings for the England team

9th Ryan Watson 5pts
31st Ben Taylor 10pts
32nd Connor Barlow 10pts
58th Reece Nicolson 14pts
60th Alex Clements 14pts
from a total of 83 competitors.

World Championships Youth U18’s Team Results

1st Portugal 29 pts – 18.045kg
2nd Czech Republic 33 pts – 21.740kg
3rd Slovakia 33 pts – 21.615kg
4th Croatia 34 pts – 20.735kg
5th Italy 35 pts – 21.125kg
6th England – 35pts – 17.965kg

World Championships Youth U18’s Individual Results

1st Ivan Turkovic, Croatia 2 pts – 11.210kg
2nd Ondrej Pokorny, Czech Republic 3 pts – 7.280kg
3rd Ferenc Hamar, Hungary 3 pts – 6.690kg
4th Carlos Silva, Portugal 3 pts – 6.180kg
5th Alberto Visciglia, Italy 4 pts – 10.080kg
6th Juraj Smaha, Slovakia 4 pts – 9.295kg

World Championships Youth U22s Team Results

1st Italy 22 pts – 33.090kg
2nd Serbia 25 pts – 31.990kg
3rd England 25 pts – 31.080kg
4th Slovenia 25 pts – 27.220kg
5th Netherlands 27 pts – 29.330kg
6th Germany 32 pts – 24.740kg

World Championships Youth U22s Individual Results

1st Sjors Milder, Netherlands 3 pts – 9.120kg
2nd Matt Godfrey, England 3 pts – 8.620kg
3rd Vukasin Dimic, Serbia 3 pts – 8.280kg
4th Sven Hekman, Netherlands 3 pts – 7.520kg
5th Lorenzo Tassinari, Italy 4 pts – 9.560kg
6th Alberto Italiani, Italy 4 pts – 7.490kg

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The Angling Trust has learnt that DEFRA and the Environment Agency (EA) last year accidentally abolished the law which created an offence of fishing in the close season. This will lead to poachers and illegal anglers caught in this spring’s coarse fishing close season getting away with lesser offences when their cases go to court.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsThe EA has now proposed an emergency byelaw to correct the error. The announcement was tucked away behind an announcement about new byelaws relating to eels, presumably in the hope that no-one would notice. A single bullet point on the last page of a seven page document quietly proposes to: “create the offence for fishing during close seasons and close times” to correct this mistake. The eel byelaws are printed in full, but the close season byelaw is only provided on the Agency web site at

The Marine & Coastal Access Act repealed Section 19 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act. This was with the intention of allowing the Agency to regulate and enforce close seasons/close times entirely by byelaw. However, the repeal overlooked the fact that S.19 also contained the only offence of fishing during the close season and close times. Government lawyers had assumed the offence was included in national/regional byelaws, but these simply set out close season dates/times and do not include offences. As a result, while all the existing close seasons and times remain as set out in byelaws, there is now no active offence of fishing during the close season or close times.

The Angling Trust understands that 14 anglers have been successfully prosecuted for fishing in the close season and that their convictions will now have to be nullified. Over 90 other cases are pending. Prosecutions of Section 19 offences will have to be halted, but some offenders will be prosecuted for other offences (e.g. fishing without a licence or byelaw contravention).

In addition, Section 35 (subsection 2) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act (1975) allows holders of a rod licence to require another angler to show his licence and give his name and address. Failure to produce a licence was an offence. This was a very useful tool for angling clubs and fisheries, in particular for fishery and club bailiffs or water-keepers. However, Section 220 (subsection 8) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) removed this authority, limiting it to Environment Agency enforcement officers and police officers only, by amending the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act to omit Section 35, Subsection 2.

Angling Trust will be seeking a reinstatement of this provision. In the meantime the Trust is issuing guidance to its member clubs about how to address this unwelcome change, which we are told is because the old legislation might raise issues regarding data protection requirements and the protection of young people.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “We are very concerned that such a major error could be made by the teams of lawyers involved in drafting new legislation. We also believe that the attempts to conceal the error were misconceived and that a full public statement should have been made once the error was discovered. The Trust will remain vigilant in ensuring that law-abiding anglers’ interests are protected, and that clubs and fisheries have the tools available to help police their fisheries.”

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The Angling Trust and the CLA Game Fair are delighted to announce that Peter Rolfe is the winner of the first Fred J Taylor Award for Environmental Stewardship in the world of Angling. Peter is pictured with his trophy here (left), along with the Arthur Oglesby Award winner Hugh Miles (centre) and Bernard Cribbins (right).

Angling Trust Fishing NewsPeter was selected for his work over nearly four decades studying and conserving crucian carp, a species which has suffered a dramatic decline in numbers due to destruction of its habitat and hybridisation with feral goldfish and other carp. Peter was awarded with the Fred J Taylor Award at the CLA Game Fair on Saturday 20 July in the main theatre, along with a cash prize of £1,000 to spend on furthering his work.

In the 1970s, Peter restored, created and managed several field ponds for the benefit of crucian carp, tench and a host of other wildlife. Thousands of field ponds, once a common sight in the British countryside, have disappeared through neglect or deliberate infilling.

In the 1980s, as secretary of his local angling club, Peter then moved on to creating two larger lakes of 2 and 3 acres respectively, stocked with fish which had bred in the field ponds, and restoring two half-acre lakes dating back to Saxon times. The latter he still manages as fisheries and wildlife reserves.
In 1989, he set up a business raising water plants and fish, including crucian carp and tench. He and his partners went on to create more than 20 new ponds, providing thousands of fish for stocking throughout the West Country. In the same year, he supervised restoration of two Victorian estate lakes of 2 acres each, which went on to produce fish approaching record weights.

Now in his mid- seventies, Peter has just completed a book (Crock of Gold – Seeking the Crucian Carp, Mpress Ltd.) about crucian carp to pass on his knowledge to fishery managers following in his footsteps. This is the only book devoted entirely to this threatened species.

Angling Trust received a small number of very high quality applications for this new award, all of which were entirely eligible to win. However Peter’s nomination stood out as being the precise embodiment of everything the Trust was trying to achieve by creating this award in memory of Fred J Taylor.

Chris Yates, angling writer and star of the BBC TV series A Passion for Angling wrote in his testimonial to Peter’s work:
“for several years now I have fished a pair of Saxon field ponds beautifully restored by Peter Rolfe. Though small, these waters are now a favourite with me, not only because of their wonderful crucians and tench, but also because of their wilder inhabitants. In summer, the reedbeds are alive with damselflies and dragonflies; grass snakes bask on the banks, brook lampreys live in the feeder stream and the rare water vole lives under the banks. Last season, there was a barn owl nesting in an oak on the upper pond and I have often seen a pair of hobbies hawking for dragonflies there.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:
“Peter has single-handedly contributed to the salvation of an important fish species for angling while at the same time restoring one of the country’s most threatened habitats: small ponds, along with the plethora of wildlife that are associated with them. We are privileged that he is the first winner of this award and hope that he will inspire others. We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to apply. We will be promoting the vast amount of work carried out by the angling community to Government in discussions about how we can contribute to the Big Society agenda.”

Vincent Hedley Lewis, Chairman of The CLA Game Fair Board said:
“Peter is an outstanding role model who hopefully will have inspired many people to improve the water aspects of their land. Improving environmental habitat is an invaluable asset to be appreciated with grateful thanks by generations to come.”

Peter Rolfe said:
“Fred J Taylor’s book on tench was one of the inspirations for my field pond work in the 1970s and I feel very honoured to have won an award named after him. I am grateful to the sponsors for this opportunity to highlight the plight of the crucian carp, a fish that has been under-valued until now. Their generosity will help me greatly in my latest project, the restoration of six derelict ponds, in two acres of marvellous wetland, where I plan to continue my research into this remarkable fish and to breed many more for waters all over the country.”

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