THE coarse fishing Close Season review is continuing apace as the eight-week public consultation reaches its halfway point.

Anglers who want the three-month river Close Season lifted may have to make a strong case now during the consultation.

We have a link at the end of this story to the new survey where you can find out more – and make your case.

The results of the last 20,000-angler survey (completed by only a quarter of those who were asked) did not point to a total lifting of the river break…

That Environment Agency poll last year saw a modest 33 per cent of respondents say they wanted the March 15 to June 15 river Close Season lifted.

A majority of 43 per cent wanted to retain the river Close Season.

But it should be noted that 17 per cent wanted to retain a river Close Season but change the start/finish dates.

The remaining 7 per cent were undecided.

The EA are now looking into the option of changing the river Close Season from April 15 to June 30.

It will be interesting to see how many of those people entering the new consultation will vote for that fresh solution.

The current public consultation started on January 14 and continues to March 11.

The EA say they  reminded over 500,000 anglers to respond to the river Close Season consultation when they sent their January e-newsletter on email.

Your views count on river Close Season

EA fisheries chief Kevin Austin said: “We want to hear the views of anybody with an interest in coarse fisheries, their preferred way forward and the reasons and evidence to support that. This will help us decide whether there is a case for change.

“Our priority is to find the right balance between angling and protecting the fish stocks on which angling relies.”

Steve Axford, chairman of Institute of Fisheries Management said: “The IFM is pleased to see that there will be wider public consultation on the Close Season for coarse fish in rivers.

“We wish to help with assessment of the arguments and any further evidence that may come from the consultation and in the development of any proposed changes to byelaws that may result.”

Surbiton Angling Centre boss and river ace Andy Mackie told the Mail: “I probably back up the ‘20,000-angler survey’ and say there isn’t a huge case for changing it.

“Personally I’d leave it exactly how it is. I do have a tackle shop near the River Thames but lifting the Close Season won’t magically turn the tackle trade round. I’m happy to keep it as it is or change the dates slightly.”

> The consultation paper, where you can give your input before March 11, can be found HERE

Read the very latest views and news on this big debate in Angler’s Mail magazine.

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