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EA Close Season Consultation

Jason Bean

Senior Member
whatever happens to the close season within the next 25 years river angling is going to decline very rapidly. matches will be almost non existent. most stretches will be free to fish or not fishable at all. clubs wont be able to afford to rent them because there will be so few members in the clubs. and that's if clubs exist because nobody will run them as the aging die-hards kick the bucket.

it will be a tight fisted, secret squirrel, inward looking, anti social specimen anglers dream...there may be a few exceptions on the trent and wye and further up north but midlands to the south the decline is happening rapidly.

in Oxfordshire there is not one busy stretch of river, that is pretty much the same across most counties. the impact anglers have on a national scale to fish stocks is tiny and removing the close season will make no difference. the only areas that may be affected should be controlled by the clubs, like what happened in this years low water/heatwave on the wye.

I have not heard one fact as a reason why the close season should remain.
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
it will be a tight fisted, secret squirrel, inward looking, anti social specimen anglers dream...there may be a few exceptions on the trent and wye and further up north but midlands to the south the decline is happening rapidly.

Just personal choice, perhaps then even the BAA might consider the change in attitudes to it's membership.

Match fishing is a social event, nothing at all wrong with that, but was born out of the need to socialise at weekends after working in factories mainly, with more affluence came more choices, hence Match Fishing declined.

The specimen angler is in it for the long haul, he or she doesn't need to fish cheek by jowl, in fact prefers solitude, the oddity for me is not the Lone Angler at all, and more akin to what our hunting ancestors did through necessity.

Match angling has been around a mere 150 years or so what the rest of us do is timeless.
 

Phil Nixon

Senior Member
How many game anglers are there in England, compared to coarse anglers?
There were some drug dealers on the corner of the street where I live the other day and I thought to myself, what the government should do is legalise drugs so that those that do sell drugs will be licensed and earning revenue for the Treasury at the same time as making sure that unlicensed/illegal dealers cannot operate in the area, that would really solve the problem!
Was waiting for your reply Damian, assume you have been on holiday. This is an angling forum, the taking of drugs has nothing to do with the close season. At the time of my posting people were discussing the non argument that the close season allows the banks to grow back and the birds to breed undisturbed, regardless of numbers anglers are still using the rivers in the close season.

The reason that the close season was abolished was that lakes were being stocked with a few trout and then opened as any method fisheries - legally.
The EA couldn't stop this and carried out an experiment on a few lakes (not a clue where) and a couple of years later the close season on lakes was abolished and owners could open them if they wanted. A few years later without any experiments the close season on canals was abolished except for any areas of the canal where a river flowed in . Everybody assumed that the rivers would follow but this never happened. Clubs are in decline, just look at the number of EA licences sold, anything we can do to preserve our sport should be done and until anybody can come up with actual FACTS to show it is detrimental to remove the close season then I will support its removal. I have spoken to 2 respected anglers recently and they both support the retention of the close season, one because he is a traditionalist and one because he likes June 16th, hardly scientific reasons
 

Jamie Dawson

Senior Member
A bit like brexit this thread remoaners & leavers,not everyone will be happy with the result please don't call for a 2nd people's consultation,IMO scrap the close season for a couple of years see what improvements/damage is done,also it will be down to the owner or controlling club whether to let fishing continue.The stretches of river I fish are somewhat devoid of anglers,and really think river angling needs a huge boost scrapping the close season could help.By the way I don't fish lakes or canals in the river close season.
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
Because lakes and ponds can be easily stocked....and the fish stay in that environment.

River fish are nomadic and river stocking can be woefully ineffective such as the Upper Stour and Great Ouse failures.

You will get anglers targeting spawning fish. They do feed during spawning whatever you hear.

Seeing a group of barbel spawning on the shallows, especially with some big spawn full females will have some
"Anglers" doing everything to get in the news.
Fact.
 
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Alex Gowney

Senior Member
I think it’s a quirky legal thing. You own a lake or canal as a body of water and the ground under it. A river, you can own the banks but the water and everything therein you cannot. In simple terms, fish from lakes and canals are property where as those in rivers are wildlife. Something along those lines.
Could be Stephen, but that would suggest that the EA don't have the power to change the close season rules on rivers. If so, first I've heard of it and also why would they conduct a survey?
 

Alex Gowney

Senior Member
Does anyone know the answer to this? Why did they exclude rivers?
I'm guessing they had a very good reason at the time, I suspect it was due to river environment being a different kettle of fish to that of still waters and canals. Excuse the pun.
Maybe that same reason is why they're reluctant to change that now?
I thought at the time the reason for excluding rivers was a sort of experiment before either reinstating it on canals and stillwaters or scrapping it everywhere, but maybe not.
 

Stephen Crowhurst

Senior Member
Could be Stephen, but that would suggest that the EA don't have the power to change the close season rules on rivers. If so, first I've heard of it and also why would they conduct a survey?
Don’t know the ins and outs I’m afraid G, the context that brought it to mind was about prosecution of poaching. How on rivers people would be charged with theft of fishing rights as apposed to theft of the fish themselves. I’m sure someone with more knowledge of legality will shed some light.
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
Don’t know the ins and outs I’m afraid G, the context that brought it to mind was about prosecution of poaching. How on rivers people would be charged with theft of fishing rights as apposed to theft of the fish themselves. I’m sure someone with more knowledge of legality will shed some light.
The definition of larceny contains ''Takes and carries away anything capable of being stolen''...so no you can't be charged with theft of fishing rights. Even trespass is an anomaly where there is no trespass law as such, it is a civil matter.
''Trespassers will be prosecuted'' Just no.
 

Phil Nixon

Senior Member
Poaching

Poaching can essentially be defined as fishing, attempting to or having fished without permission of the owner or controller of fishing rights. Such permission is invariably gained via purchasing a day permit, club permit, or joining a syndicate, although there are certain waters fishable without charge by anglers in possession of a valid rod licence.

It is important to appreciate that poaching per se is not a matter for Environment Agency fishery enforcement teams. Poaching – whether or not fish are actually taken – is covered by the Theft Act 1968 and is, therefore, a matter for the police.

This is not, however, ‘theft’ as defined under Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968, but is perhaps better thought of as theft of the rights to fish. Fishing without a permit is known as ‘Taking or destroying fish’ under Schedule 1 of the Theft Act 1968: -

‘… a person who unlawfully takes or destroys, or attempts to take or destroy, any fish in water which is private property or in which there is any private right of fishery, shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding Level 5 on the standard scale (£5000)’.

It is important, however, to understand the meaning of ‘take’ in this legal context. In Wells v Hardy (1964), Lord Chief Justice Parker defined this: -

‘“Taking” does not include an element of “asportation” (i.e. carrying the fish away from the water). It means to lay hands upon, to grasp, to seize or to capture’.

This means than an individual still commits the offence if fish are retained in a keep net. The offence is also committed if the angler is fishing but has yet to catch anything.

The evidence required is straightforward: the time, date and location; a description of the offender, tackle and bait, and whether a baited line was in the water.

If an authorised keeper discovers someone fishing without permission, they are advised to call the police and cite this offence. The courts have the power upon conviction to ‘order the forfeiture of anything which, at the time of the offence, he had with him for the taking or destroying of fish’. Any person, therefore, also has the power to seize ‘anything which on that person’s conviction of the offence would be liable to forfeiture’.

A general power of arrest is no longer attached to all offences connected with theft and poaching, so this is best left to the professionals of the Environment Agency and police. Far better to call them in the event of discovering such an offence in progress, rather than put oneself in harm’s way both physically and legally.


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Fish Theft

Fish living in fully enclosed stillwaters under single ownership are considered in law to be ‘property’ and can therefore be stolen. Specimen carp, for example, are worth large sums of money and are important financial assets to fishery owners. Such fish can be targeted by thieves. Big fish, however, are often identifiable, so it is wise to keep a photographic record when stocking, or of fish caught over time. In a case of fish theft, the police would need to identify who the fish actually belong to – the riparian owner or leasing club.

Fish living in rivers or unenclosed stillwaters are free to roam and considered wild. As such they are not recognised in law as property and cannot, therefore, be stolen.

Because fish in fully enclosed stillwaters with single ownership are considered to be property, they can be stolen – the criminal offence under Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 applies. The essential points to prove are that the fish concerned are ‘property’ in a legal context, and there must be an intention to ‘permanently deprive’ the owner of that property. This would not apply, therefore, to an angler fishing without permission who has fish in a keep net (and therefore commits the ‘Theft of Fishing Rights’ offence), but does to an angler caught removing fish from a stillwater without the owner’s permission. This is straightforward to prove if the angler has killed the fish concerned, but not if the fish is alive. That being so, supporting evidence would be required of the necessary means to transport fish alive, such as a vehicle parked nearby with a water tank of some description, or a bucket and aerator pump. In any case, it is illegal to transfer live fish from one-water to another without the necessary permission of the owner and authorisation by the Environment Agency.

The Angling Trust’s poster regarding fish theft can be downloaded here: http://www.anglingtrust.net/page.asp?section=894%A7ionTitle=Membership+Posters. The display of such posters is important evidentially – because offenders will find difficult to argue that they were unaware that fish removal is prohibited.

Legal Removal of Fish

On rivers, an angler may only remove on any given day: -

• One pike of up to 65 cm. • Two grayling of 30 – 38 cm. • Up to a total of fifteen small fish of up to 20 cm of the following native species: barbel, chub, common and silver bream, common carp, crucian carp, dace, perch, pike, roach, rudd, tench and smelt. This is to permit the use of live and dead fish as bait where allowed by local rules.

Please note: fish measurements are recorded from the fork of tail to tip of snout.

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No written consent is required to remove
 

Graham Shaw

Senior Member
Because lakes and ponds can be easily stocked....and the fish stay in that environment.

River fish are nomadic and river stocking can be woefully ineffective such as the Upper Stour and Great Ouse failures.


You will get anglers targeting spawning fish. They do feed during spawning whatever you hear.


Seeing a group of barbel spawning on the shallows, especially with some big spawn full females will have some
"Anglers" doing everything to get in the news.
Fact.

Agreed. Every time I see big spawning barbel, so vulnerable on the gravels, I'm glad not many other people know where they are, and that it's been 8-10 weeks since anyone was allowed to fish for them, so most anglers have just about forgotten about them. Because let's face it there are some real idiots out there, whether they have paid for the right licence or not, and some would be tempted. There would be cases in May where you would be wondering if some idiots on social media might have just scooped up a spawning barbel in a net to pose with it as if caught on rod and line!

From my point of view the close season generally does its job, although there is very little poaching in this part of the country, I could imagine that reports of widespread closed season poaching of the rivers I fish might make me reconsider.

I fish for trout in the coarse close season though, on 4 different rivers (where I rarely see another angler of any kind) so that's another thing that helps me keep sane.



whatever happens to the close season within the next 25 years river angling is going to decline very rapidly. matches will be almost non existent. most stretches will be free to fish or not fishable at all. clubs wont be able to afford to rent them because there will be so few members in the clubs. and that's if clubs exist because nobody will run them as the aging die-hards kick the bucket.

it will be a tight fisted, secret squirrel, inward looking, anti social specimen anglers dream...there may be a few exceptions on the trent and wye and further up north but midlands to the south the decline is happening rapidly.

in Oxfordshire there is not one busy stretch of river, that is pretty much the same across most counties. the impact anglers have on a national scale to fish stocks is tiny and removing the close season will make no difference. the only areas that may be affected should be controlled by the clubs, like what happened in this years low water/heatwave on the wye.


I have not heard one fact as a reason why the close season should remain.

I really respect your views (and everyone's), cos I agree with nearly every word, but if i changed 8 or 9 words I would write all the same things, with "the impact anglers have on a national scale to fish stocks is tiny, but removing the close season is the one thing that might make it a lot worse. .... I have not heard one fact as a reason why the close season should not remain."
 

Nick Coulthurst

Senior Member
I agree Graham, if allowed the odd sad individual will target spawning barbel on the shallows, and in many seasons they can do that now. If it were scrapped and left up to the clubs to decide when to stop angling, the fish would get the protection they require at the right time and anglers would get more time on the banks. At the moment, clubs are very reluctant to impose angling bans when barbel are spawning outside the closed season because anglers have already been off the rivers for 3 months and with typical uk weather, the river season is already relatively short. I realise many will point out that barbel aren’t the only river fish that require protection during spawning, but as I mentioned earlier, they are the only species, with the possible exception of pike on some rivers/drains, that receive any real angling pressure. Roach, dace, perch, rudd etc really don’t need protection from anglers, there aren’t enough of us pursuing them to make a difference.
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
Hi Nick.
Chub would be targeted.

On the lakes etc. it's common to see anglers attempting to catch spawn full fish, such as crucians to up their pb's in the old close season.

I totally agree that the current close season does not cover all species, however, it picks up most aspects of the normal spawning cycles in "normal" years.

Whilst many rivers, such as the Loddon, Kennet, Bristol Avon and Teme for example are suffering from low stocks it seems unwise to probably put more pressure on spawning fish.

In many cases, even capture whilst full of spawn may cause the loss of those precious eggs.

Those that mention a two year or so trial, have to also realise that the possible negative effects would not be noticed for many years afterwards. By then too late.

As Graham noted, I have spent many a happy day watching barbel spawning on gravel shallows.

It would be too risky to allow a club to self regulate. Few knew where I would watch them.


Just my view.
 

Jamie Dawson

Senior Member
Looks like this thread could go on & on,why not extend the season by 4-6 weeks and start it later,there's been plenty of times I've seen barbel spawning in July,also it would give them more time to recover their strength.Just throwing another equation in the mix
 

Nick Coulthurst

Senior Member
Regulation without enforcement is pretty pointless imo. In 30 years of river angling I’ve never seen an E.A. bailiff and out of season angling on some of the drains near me is commonplace. If the clubs can’t do a better job than the E.A., it’s a sad state of affairs. Whilst moving the season forwards would be better for barbel, it in no way helps pike. Leave it to the clubs.
 

Graham Elliott

Senior Member
I have seen a few EA baliffs checking licences. And many individual club baliffs and members ask to see the same.

The problem referred to re people fishing illegally seems more to do with anglers not protecting their sport and serving their club through apathy.

I always contact the EA and the Club officials if those asked politely to leave don't.

On those 4 occasions they have always attended

It's up to us to protect our sport by making an example of the law breakers.

In a few cases that have been sent to court, the penalties have been quite effective. Think BJ for example.
 

Phil Nixon

Senior Member
Regulation without enforcement is pretty pointless imo. In 30 years of river angling I’ve never seen an E.A. bailiff and out of season angling on some of the drains near me is commonplace. If the clubs can’t do a better job than the E.A., it’s a sad state of affairs. Whilst moving the season forwards would be better for barbel, it in no way helps pike. Leave it to the clubs.
Had a phone call from EA enforcement officer today to say one of our members was caught without a licence on Throop, they are about.
 

David Clewer

Senior Member
It is perhaps worth pointing out that fishing for spawning fish is illegal under the terms of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, so how does that square with scrapping the close season? It also means that a lot of anglers are fishing illegally on stillwaters in the spring, even though there is no longer a close season on these waters. The whole situation is a mess and scrapping the close season won't help - a complete overhaul of the legislation is required, backed by scientific research to establish what the potential impacts of year round angling are.


Dave
 
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