Fish wel­fare is paramount, says boss of West­wood Lakes

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

THE boss of a top com­mer­cial is call­ing on other fish­eries to fol­low his lead and in­tro­duce a con­tro­ver­sial new rule aimed at boost­ing fish wel­fare.

Soar­ing tem­per­a­tures have left stocks at their most vul­ner­a­ble in re­cent weeks, and West­wood Lakes owner Alan Cou­p­land has now stepped in to make sure stocks at the Lin­colnshire com­plex re­main healthy this sum­mer.

In or­der to min­imise the amount of time that fish spend in keep­nets dur­ing matches, he has in­sisted an­glers per­form a weigh-in half­way through each con­test staged in the warmer months.

It had been sug­gested that the move could risk up­set­ting vis­i­tors, forc­ing them to look else­where, but Alan has been de­lighted by the sup­port he has re­ceived. He told Angling Times: “We have spent thou­sands of pounds on stocks over the years and I am not will­ing to risk their wel­fare by hav­ing them crammed in nets for five hours at a time when wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are so high.

“We have had huge weights to well over 250lb re­cently. Hold­ing a weigh-in at the half­way point and then at the end is the best way to en­sure the fish are in nets for just a short spell.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of an­glers have been fan­tas­tic and are fully sup­port­ive of the new rule. As for those few that don’t agree with what we are do­ing, well, they are more than wel­come to take their cus­tom else­where,” he added.

“Fish wel­fare is paramount to us and I can see other fish­eries in­tro­duc­ing a half­way weigh-in this sum­mer.”

Other fish­eries have al­ready shown an in­ter­est in adopt­ing a sim­i­lar pol­icy. An­gel of the North Lakes owner Ann Adling­ton said: “I think it’s a great idea and some­thing we will cer­tainly look into. We take fish wel­fare very se­ri­ously, and along with mea­sures such as in­stalling aer­a­tors and con­trol­ling what baits are al­lowed, this is another clever way of safe­guard­ing their health.”

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