Angling: New head of fisheries has plenty to ponder

The fishing rod licence will be a leading issue for the Environment Agency's new head of fisheries Sarah Chare.
The fishing rod licence will be a leading issue for the Environment Agency's new head of fisheries Sarah Chare.
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Late last year the Environment Agency’s head of fisheries Geoff Bateman released the news that he would not be standing for office and tendered his resignation from the post.

There was much speculation as to who would take his place but eventually Sarah Chare was named as his successor.

When you examine her credentials she was the obvious choice for she had worked in the Fisheries Department for the past 20 years and this included stints in enforcement, disease prevention and as an area fisheries officer and so over the years she has gained a wealth of experience and is ideally qualified for the top job.

Of course she has inherited a host of problems and one of those is one that I mentioned in a recent column.

That is the fishing licence situation with the carpers and specimen hunters wanting a special licence to enable them to have a multiple rod set up.

Another issue which must be at the top of her list is one which raises its head every year, that of the closed season on rivers. She promised a thorough investigation into both of those and also other matters and will be working in close conjunction with the Angling Trust to attempt a solution but if there are to be changes then these will not be introduced until the commencement of the 2016 season.

I did mention recently that if it was up to me it would be a licence for every rod which is being used for the vast majority of anglers in this country, coarse, fly or even spinning only use one rod at a time so why should we subsidise people who want to use more!

And let us face it, any money raised from the sale of licences is ploughed back into the sport.

Another thing that has bugged me for years is why is freshwater angling, be it coarse or game, the only sport in the country which requires the participant to purchase a licence in order to carry on with his chosen sport.

No other sport in the country faces this imposition, not even sea anglers and the only licence the shooting fraternity require is to own a gun.

The so called rod licence is misnamed for you do not require a licence to purchase as many rods or poles that you can carry and the correct name should be a fishing licence.

A few more questions for our new official would include how the drastic cuts in Government funding are going to affect future projects?

What about the eradication of invasive species such as signal crayfish types of shrimps and quagga mussels?

Will the fight continue against polluters and fish poachers and illegal netters? How about getting more people into fishing?

The list is endless and I am glad that it is Ms Chare who has all of the headaches and not me!

Top rod Darren Starkey with a 3-02 perch from the bungalows section on the River Ouse. PIC: Steve Fearnley

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