THE leader of the River Anglers Conservation Group got up and personal with one of the biggest threats to angling - poaching.

RACG chairman Matt Marlow went for a couple of hours drop shotting on an inner city canal and was disgusted to find a net that was clearly used for poaching.

Matt had only recently returned to fishing after successful treatment for cancer.

The saddle maker, from Boxwich, West Midlands, explained: “I went to the Bridgewater Canal in the centre of Manchester. The canal was like chocolate from the incessant rain.

“I found and removed the offending item, and saved this eel from the pot.

“The poaching net is now in my possession and I have since reported it to the Environment Agency.

“On top of it all, I blanked. I should have taken some worms.”

This eel was trapped in the poaching net.

This eel was trapped in the poaching net.

Matt continued: “This kind of illegal fishing, poaching, is becoming more and more commonplace.

“All anglers should be vigilant and ensure such activity is reported so action can be taken.

“The RACG itself has been going now for just over a year and has done phenomenally well since its inception. It’s important that we that we continue to work hard for our rivers.

“We are actively involved in a number of projects. These include research on river conservation, river conservation activities and fishery development/ improvement activities.”

Matt Marlow, of the RACG, who has seen poaching evidence at first hand..

Matt Marlow, of the pro-active RACG, has seen poaching evidence at first hand.

More examples of RACG work include:

  • hosting a river fish spawning survey in collaboration with Dr Andrew Pledger (Loughborough University)
  • supporting several PHD students in their work on fish habitats
  • habitat restoration works at Kings Weir fishery on the River Lea in Essex where  gravel spawning beds were extensively jet cleaned.
  • helping to obtain funding to develop disabled access facilities on the Kings Weir site.
  • supporting a collaborative Salford College-led river clean-up scheme.
  • running a work party on the River Goyt in collaboration with Mersey Rivers Trust.

Matt added: “We also had a highly successful fish-in on the River Swale which we are repeating again this year on Sept 30 – Oct 1. Full details are on the RACG website.”

Membership of the RACG is just £10 per year and all money is spent on projects and activities to help improve rivers and river fisheries.

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