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Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME - MARK PECK

AN­GLING TIMES read­ers are be­ing called to back a cam­paign to help pro­tect one of the UK’s most sought-after species.

‘Stop the per­se­cu­tion of Zan­der in Bri­tish wa­ters’ is a cam­paign which has been cre­ated to try to bring about a change in the law which cur­rently pro­hibits the species be­ing re­turned to our wa­ter­ways once caught.

The on­line pe­ti­tion, which has al­ready re­ceived hun­dreds of sig­na­tures, was cre­ated by Buck­ing­ham-based an­gler James Aris.

He not only wants to see the species given more pro­tec­tion, but a rad­i­cal change in at­ti­tude to­wards these fish.

“Zan­der have been in Eng­land since 1878 and should be more uni­ver­sally ac­cepted,” he told An­gling Times.

“An ever-grow­ing num­ber of lure an­glers spend a lot of money on all the ac­cou­trements needed to suc­cess­fully tar­get the species. De­spite this, thou­sands are de­stroyed in net­ting or elec­trofish­ing op­er­a­tions each year.

“There are hun­dreds of venues which have li­cences to stock the species and miles of un­fished canal – those fish could be re­turned to these ar­eas in­stead,” he said.

Cur­rently there are grey ar­eas re­gard­ing the law about not re­turn­ing zan­der to the wa­ter from which they are caught.

English law cur­rently al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to re­turn zan­der when they catch one from a wa­ter where the species is ‘al­ready es­tab­lished’, but doesn’t al­low net­ting op­er­a­tors on man-made venues like canals to do the same.

The Canal & River Trust over­sees dozens of such op­er­a­tions on its wa­ter­ways each year.

How­ever, the char­ity says its hands are tied when it comes

to keep­ing an­glers happy while re­main­ing within the law.

A CRT spokesper­son said: “We have not been granted per­mis­sion to keep zan­der on canals and so we be­lieve that we could in­ad­ver­tently be break­ing the law if we told an an­gler that it was okay to re­turn a non-na­tive fish species to the cut.

“In our day-to-day fish­eries work, when we en­counter a non-na­tive species we are bound by the Keep­ing and In­tro­duc­tion of Fish (KIPF) Reg­u­la­tions not to re­turn the fish in ques­tion to the wa­ter. We can only re­stock fish we find if the new venue has a li­cence to stock the species.”

It is this law which a grow­ing num­ber of preda­tor an­glers like James Aris wants to see changed.

Re­cently a Face­book page called ‘Save the Zan­der’ ap­peared on­line and some of the sport’s top names have also voiced their con­cerns, in­clud­ing Zan­der An­glers’ Club mem­ber Dilip Sarkar.

He told An­gling Times “Zan­der are here, fact. They do not dec­i­mate fish pop­u­la­tions as was once feared.

Over time, they have be­come an ac­cepted part of the aquatic en­vi­ron­ment they now live in.

“In wa­ters where they are es­tab­lished, na­ture has bal­anced it­self out. Take the Sev­ern, for ex­am­ple… the river is in fine fet­tle, full of fish, and pro­duces pike to 30lb and zan­der to 20lb-plus.

“Were there not suf­fi­cient food, that would not be the case.

“The canals where culling is on­go­ing are ac­tu­ally full of sil­ve­fish, so there re­ally isn’t a prob­lem.

“Even if there were, it would be phys­i­cally and prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate zan­der, whether or not they re­main on the in­va­sive species list.”

THE LAW AS IT STANDS

When asked by An­gling Times what the law is re­gard­ing zan­der, an En­vi­ron­ment Agency spokesper­son said: “The keep­ing or re­leas­ing of zan­der in your fish­ery (un­less it’s a to­tally en­closed still­wa­ter) is an of­fence un­der the Im­port of Live Fish Act un­less the Fish­ery con­cerned has an of­fi­cial li­cence to hold the species.

“If an an­gler catches a zan­der from a wa­ter where they are al­ready es­tab­lished they can de­cide whether to re­turn it or, mak­ing sure they have the fish­ery owner’s per­mis­sion, to take it.”

“Zan­der have been in Eng­land since 1878 and should be more uni­ver­sally ac­cepted”

Cam­paign or­gan­iser James Aris with a fine ex­am­ple of the fish he wants to save.

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