Angling: Rod licence money helps to stock the fish in our rivers

FILLING UP: Peter Mischenko, from the Enviroment Agency, releases young barbel into the River Aire, near Thwaites Mills.

FILLING UP: Peter Mischenko, from the Enviroment Agency, releases young barbel into the River Aire, near Thwaites Mills.

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It is a question which I often hear from anglers when they cough up their hard-earned cash every year to pay for their fishing licence: “What does the Environment Agency do with the money?”

Apart from a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, such as flood defence and pollution issues plus administration costs which receive very little publicity, one of their major projects is at Calverton in Nottinghamshire which is the home of a huge fish farm.

The main species bred there are barbel, chub and roach plus many other species and the resulting fish are used to replenish stocks all over the country.

The latest figures released by the Environment Agency show that over the past year more than 400,000 fish will have been released with our region, the North East, gaining the biggest share with 20 per cent of the haul, which works out at around 83,500 fish. The North West and Midlands both collected 15 per cent (63,000).

The numbers of the various species stocked were chub (91,000), barbel (67,000), roach (56,000), grayling (54,000), rudd (46,000), bream (39,000), tench (37,000) and dace (18,000).

I reported recently that the River Aire below Keighley and several other places down to Thwaites Mill in Leeds had had an influx of barbel in the eight- to-nine inch category and these were thriving for fish from an earlier stocking a few years ago are now in the four-pound class.

I see that otters have yet again made the headlines but for a change not in the angling periodicals but in the national press. I spotted the item in four of the tabloids and three of the Sunday papers with some showing detailed pictures of the carnage that has been caused.

The story centred around an elderly couple, Linda and Alan Brown, when they returned to their home at Thetford in Norfolk after a couple of weeks’ holiday.

In their garden was a 6,000- gallon pond which contained a collection of various types of carp, common, ghost, mirror and goldfish, some of which were valued at over £10,000. Whilst they were away an otter had gained entry via the nearby River Little Ouse and had killed all the stock.

The couple were heartbroken for they had nurtured the fish for over 25 years and to see the fish strewn over their and their neighbours’ gardens was heartbreaking.

So upset were the couple that they immediately had the pond drained and filled in.

Leeds Amalgamation have a list in their membership book of 30 life members, these are people who have given meritorious service to the society over the years and recently two more names were added.

Dave Bonsels and Ken Jubb have put in many years of service, Dave as secretary of fishery management and Ken as a member of the general purposes committee.

At the top of the list is the name of Les Coleman, who like all life members, is granted free membership. Unfortunately club secretary Graham Park has no means of contacting Mr Coleman, no forwarding address or telephone number.

His complimentary book has not been collected for quite a few years so if anyone has any knowledge of his whereabouts would they give me a call on 0113 2645500.

Showing his dad how to catch Knotford tench is eight-year-old Harry Hinchcliffe of Bingley.

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