TOP lure anglers have protested about the continued officially-sanctioned killing of zander.

Canal zander fans piled the pressure on the Canal & River Trust with the protest.

It came when the CRT International Lure Fishing Challenge winning teams unfurled banners at the ceremony saying ‘CRT Stop Killing Zander’.

The protest came in response to the practice by the hosts of the event and trophy providers, the CRT, who have removed and killed canal zander for decades.

Event organiser Janusz Kansik said: “This was the fifth year of the challenge which originally started just as a contest between English and Polish.

“In all 124 anglers took part from seven nationalities.

“We knew there could be a protest about zander culling and we had no problem about it as we knew it would go in a friendly way, which it did.

“Some believed it is not fair for CRT to electro-fish the zander as lure anglers loves to target zander, so they prepared a banner.”

“Great sport fish” says canal zander protest leader

Joanna Davies of the Polish Lure Fishing Clubwas the organiser of the protest to protect canal zander.

She said: “Lots of anglers fish for zander, it is a great sport fish and lots oppose their removal and killing.

“Zander anglers don’t want to see any killed, like carp anglers would be furious to see carp culled.

Joanna made her views crystal clear... on hi-hiz.

Joanna made her canal zander views crystal clear… on hi-hiz.

“One of the arguments is that zander reduce the number of silver fish and that is true.

“But it is even more true in heavily electro-fished waters as electro fishing tends to remove only bigger zander which eat small ones, and this action results in small zander numbers booming which is terrible for the water.

“Removal of zander and selling them to the food market is also so wrong for so many reasons.

“But for lure anglers it is clear that the motive is financial and anglers needs are ignored,” Joanna added.

“Taken by surprise” at canal zander protest

CRT fisheries manager John Ellis was invited to award the prizes, and was taken aback by the protest to protect canal zander.

John said: “Although I know there is some opposition to our policy on zander removal, I was taken by surprise by the protest as I wasn’t expecting it.

“I had just awarded the trophy to the captain of the winners and we lined up for a photo and they unfurled the banners.

“People have a right to protest and it was all done in a friendly spirit with no personal animosity towards me.

“Our policy on removing zander as an alien species was fully discussed and approved at a workshop held in May this year by the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency, and the Zander Angling Club, as well as other interested parties.

“Last year we removed around 4,000 lb of zander, but the amount is getting less each year as it was double that three years ago,” John added.

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