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Angling Trust chief executive, Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s blog.
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THE CATCHMENT-BASED APPROACH TO MANAGING RIVERS
IT’S BEEN another busy week at the Angling Trust. We’re just putting the finishing touches to our magazine The Angle, which will land on members’ doormats at the beginning of June.
This is a big job and we don’t have a dedicated member of staff to do it so it falls to me to co-ordinate all the articles and photographs in my spare time. I’m always glad when the final files are sent to the printers.
The Angling Trust was also one of the organisations which helped organise a conference on Thursday about the catchment based approach to managing rivers.
We worked alongside the RSPB, WWF-UK, Salmon & Trout Association, the Wildlife Trusts and the Rivers Trust to put on the conference which attracted about 150 delegates from all over the country, including top officials from Defra and the Environment Agency.
Four years ago, the Angling Trust and WWF-UK took legal action against the government because the Environment Agency had produced such appalling plans as part of the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. They are just about to start the process of producing the next version of the plans and it’s clear that they don’t want a repeat of that legal action.
The good news is that this time they will be breaking up the large River Basin plans (e.g. Severn, Thames and Trent) into 83 smaller catchments, which should mean that the plans will involve real issues affecting rivers and lakes, and that they will be more relevant to all of us who care about our rivers. They have also indicated that they will work much more closely with non-government-organisations like the Angling Trust in drawing up and delivering the plans.
There will be a lot of opportunities for anglers to have their say in this new round of plans, and the Angling Trust will be working hard to ensure that restoration of fish populations is the top priority as part of the plans.
There are millions of pounds being spent every year on trying to meet the standards of this directive, and we need to make sure that that money is directed to projects to get natural flows back to our rivers, to restore the places fish need to feed, breed and flee from predators and to remove barriers to fish migration. ALL fish, from minnows to barbel, migrate up and down rivers to feed and breed. Any interruption to this migration damages the survival and breeding chances of fish.
Many of these projects will need volunteer support and the involvement of angling clubs. The conference on Thursday was all about developing a partnership between the Environment Agency and the non-government organisations. Anglers must get involved in the process over the next year, or fish and fishing will be forgotten.
Restoring the health of our rivers is a massive job, but if thousands of us get involved to help the Environment Agency, I believe that we can do it.
To find out more about how you can get involved in your catchment planning process, please join the Angling Trust and we will send you information by e-mail about how to have your say, and how you can get involved in making the plans a reality.
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