News review of the year

10 min read

A lot happens in angling, and it’s not all about catching fish! Here’s our pick of the news stories that delighted, amazed, amused but all-too-often shocked you throughout 2023...

January

IN A MOVE that infuriated Britain’s recreational big-game anglers, the government proposed a ‘pilot’ commercial fishery for bluefin tuna that will allocate 39 tons to the commercial sector, with just 10 tons of quota for catch-and-release boats, – despite the huge success of recreational fishing trials which showed major economic gains with minimal impact on stocks.

The Angling Trust’s Martin Salter commented: “It’s far too soon to consider killing these magnificent creatures, especially when it’s very clear that they’re worth more alive than dead.”

CHANGES TO LICENCE SALES METHODS SLAMMED

THE fishing community voiced serious concerns over the decision to no longer make rod licences available in Post Offices after January. The Environment Agency said the move to only allow licences to be purchased on the internet or by phone was to meet ‘changing customer demand’, citing that 90 per cent of licences are bought online. However, fears surfaced that the decision would ostracise anglers who aren’t ‘tech-savvy’. Dave Maris, of Calder Angling Supplies, said: “I know an elderly angler who’s said he’ll stop fishing.

“Many people won’t give their bank details over the phone.

This decision puts up a barrier to many who’ve fished for their entire life.”

February

A LARGE number of big carp and other species perished following a botched attempt to drain South Yorkshire’s Harthill Reservoir.

In 2022 the Canal & River Trust (CRT) revealed plans to expand the venue, but anglers voiced fears for the existing stocks when the time came to drain the venue.

Those fears became a reality when a sluice gate was opened and the fish piled through into an adjoining stream. Anglers raced to the scene to save what fish they could, but local legend Bob Roberts was left seething. “A huge volume of fish were flushed out due to the CRT’s actions, not just carp but big roach too,” he said.

“It’s a disgrace and shows a shocking disregard for fish and anglers.”

ANGLERS URGED TO “USE OR LOSE” THEIR TACKLE SHOPS

BIRMINGHAM Angling Centre, opened in the mid-1970s, closed its doors. “Our customers are the one thing I’ll miss most,” said manager Rob Eustace. “It’s difficult to survive as an independent. The biggest market players and online retailers have a huge advantage, but you just don’t get that same level of advice and care as at your local shop.”

Birmingham Anglers Association responded by calling for anglers to spend in tackle shops to help them weather the cost-of-living crisis. “We appreciate the amazing job tackle shops do,