I’M STILL receiving feedback following my columns about apparent problems with eastern European fishermen taking too many fish from the river – including an acknowledgement from the Environment Agency that this really is an issue.
65-year-old Alan Petipher from West Molesey is a keen angler who has been fishing the Thames and its tributaries for many years and he is extremely concerned at the long-term effects of people taking lots of fish from the water.
Alan told me: “This has been going on for a long time and it really needs to be addressed. I’m aware of some of these people who have been taking rucksacks full of fish away with them.
“The River Ember is close to where my wife and I live and there are some factories that back onto the river. There was a nightwatchman – I think he was Polish – at one of the factories who built himself a little shed by the river and he used to fish a lot.
“My wife and I used to go down there some evenings and we’d catch a couple of pike or a carp and it was a lovely spot – but now there are no fish in the river. Roach, carp, pike – all gone. It’s just been ruined.”
You may recall Peter Robertson from Sunbury Court Island was one of the first to comment on the problem. Well the Environment Agency have now sent fisheries enforcement officers to the area and questioned the angler who Mr Robertson said had been taking large quantities of fish from the river.
The day they spoke to him, the chap had taken one fish to eat – which is perfectly legal – and he DID have a valid rod licence. But the officers made sure he understood the legal position. An EA spokeswoman also told me that fisheries officers have access to something called ‘language line’ a 24-hour mobile phone translation service if they encounter anglers for whom English is not their first language who appear to be committing offences.
The agency has been carrying out extensive consultation on its proposals to regulate the removal of coarse fish and hopefully that will see a change in the law fairly soon.
Keith Arthur, who presents the angling programme Tight Lines on SkySports contacted me to let me know that he hopes to see the law changed to prevent ANY fish being permanently removed. Sadly, the consultation period ended this week but hopefully enough sensible and responsible anglers will have responded to it to convince the authorities that there is a need to act quickly to prevent further depletion of fish stocks. Thanks again for all your input.
THANKS, too, to all the people who came out to salute the Dunkirk little ships on their annual Veterans’ Cruise on Sunday. It was fantastic to see so many folk at Molesey and Sunbury locks, along the river banks and at Weybridge as the flotilla of 20 boats made its way upstream. I was on board with some of the vets and they were very touched by the reception they were given.