SATURDAYS see the good people at The Angling Trust, the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in this country, take over our blog.
Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s edition.
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Support our campaign to protect Welsh rivers from unfettered canoe access
THIS week we launched a new campaign to protect fishing in Wales from proposals by the Welsh Assembly Government to introduce unfettered access to all Welsh rivers (and land) at all times.
This could be the thin end of the wedge, and so it’s of relevance to all of us throughout the UK.
The Angling Trust and Fish Legal have teamed up with the Country Land and Business Association, the Countryside Alliance and Angling Cymru to launch www.accesscymru.org to ensure that access is sustainable and does not impact on legitimate and economically-important activities such as farming and angling.
The coalition is responding to an on-going consultation on access to the countryside by the Welsh Assembly Government, led by Rural Affairs Minister John Griffiths AM, who refused to rule out the possibility of opening up access to all land and water without restrictions at a recent meeting we had with him, which has incensed a wide range of people who make a living in the countryside.
A series of consultation events have been held with stakeholders at which landowners and angling bodies have expressed their concern about the impact on wildlife, livestock and property rights from the proposals. The coalition wants to see sensitive wildlife and fish spawning sites protected, members of the public kept safe from livestock, and to avoid conflict with anglers.
We are very concerned about the potential legal liabilities and insurance costs that would be heaped onto rural businesses as a result of unfettered access to the countryside being imposed across the whole of Wales and it could wipe out several angling clubs who pay leases on fishing rights or have loan repayments to keep up. Angling clubs are already suffering the impacts of widespread illegal canoeing.
Angling clubs and landowners have had great difficulties finalising voluntary access agreements because Canoeing Wales has refused to allow its regional representatives to agree to any restrictions, insisting instead on access at all times and water heights.
A green paper is expected before Christmas and we will be attending meetings with Assembly Members, Ministers and officials to make anglers’ views clear.
We are seeking funds to support the campaign, including the cost of legal advice on potential challenges to legislation. Donations can be made here where there is also an online petition to sign. Please support this important cause!
Please help us to fight this and other battles for angling around the country by joining us at www.anglingtrust.net/join or calling 0844 7700616 during office hours.
Thanks for your support.
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