Thames record barbel

Anglers Mail - - Anglers -

Real is­sues to tackle

I WRITE in sup­port of John Bai­ley’s ‘river roach is­sue’. It is ob­vi­ous and well known that our rivers, es­pe­cially the smaller ones, are in se­ri­ous de­cline, es­pe­cially with ref­er­ence to roach.

Cor­morants are a com­mon sight, seen daily. They are an in­cred­i­bly ef­fi­cient preda­tor that has har­vested the roach (their main tar­get) in so many of our rivers. A RE­AL­IS­TIC cull of these birds is re­quired.

Other is­sues in­clude:

• Sig­nal cray­fish. Apart from eat­ing fish eggs, they also dras­ti­cally de­plete the nat­u­ral food of our na­tive fish. They, like cor­morants, have reached plaque lev­els!

• Ot­ters. Yes, furry crea­tures to the pub­lic, but they are ac­tu­ally an apex preda­tor that eat our re­main­ing fish. They were re­leased with lit­tle or no con­sul­ta­tion.

• Pol­lu­tants. These in­clude chem­i­cals (pes­ti­cides, fer­til­izer, etc) that farm­ers and in­dus­try use and which end up in rivers.

• Ab­strac­tion, When did a wa­ter com­pany last build a reser­voir? 50 years ago? I be­lieve that the wa­ter com­pa­nies are most in­ter­ested in their prof­its and share price. How many of our wa­ter com­pa­nies are now owned by for­eign com­pa­nies? Pos­si­bly most of them?

The above list of prob­lems is just the tip of the ice­berg. We are told that the Thames is cleaner than ever – maybe it is more ster­ile than ever?

The EA and DEFRA are Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments. They do, in ef­fect, what they are told by our politi­cians – how is that in­de­pen­dent? We need a truly in­de­pen­dent au­thor­ity to po­lice our en­vi­ron­ment!

Pe­ter Gib­bins, via email. I SAW your ar­ti­cle last week about Si­mon Cook’s Thames record barbel of 20 lb 2 oz. I just wanted to say that my friend Ron Phillips caught this fish at 20 lb 9 oz in March from the Thames.

Ian Tay­lor,

Feltham, West Lon­don.

News ed­i­tor Thomas Petch: thanks for let­ting us know, Ian. We’ll let the Thames An­glers’ Con­ser­vancy know, as they keep the of­fi­cial fish records for the River Thames.

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