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Coarse Fish Removal By Rod And Line

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  • Coarse Fish Removal By Rod And Line

    As a rule, fish in stillwaters belong to the fishery owner or occupier, while fish in rivers are not owned. Because of this difference we need to split the byelaws to cover rivers and stillwaters separately.
    What will the byelaw do?
    The byelaw allows anglers to take:
    1. 15 small fish (up to 20cm) per day of those listed in Schedule 1 (see below).
    2. 1 pike per day of up to 65cm (approx 5lb)
    3. 2 grayling per day of 30-38cm.
    The Schedule 1 list excludes "tiddler" and non-native species, allowing these to be taken without restrictions. It also excludes ornamental varieties of the listed species, allowing these to be taken.
    Note that these limits are subject to the permission of the fishery owner or occupier. However, if an owner or occupier sets tighter limits, enforcement will be their responsibility.

    The exact wording of the byelaw is replicated at the end of this document.
    What is the rationale for these limits on rivers?
    There is no evidence to suggest that the current level of coarse fish removal by anglers is impacting on the conservation of coarse fish species generally. Within reasonable limits, taking coarse fish is unlikely to impact on overall numbers. But it can affect the make-up of the stock, and have serious impacts on the fisheries they support. In particular, specialist or specimen coarse fishing places particular value on large mature fish. The value of many of our river coarse fisheries centres on the quality of the fishing provided by large fish which may have taken many years to reach such a size.

    While we need to protect the mature fish that provide sport for anglers, this does not justify a complete ban on taking coarse fish. In the absence of a strong conservation argument, this would be open to challenge as the removal of a basic right. We must also recognise that the taking of small fish for bait is an important part of predator fishing; there is no evidence that this is damaging stocks and therefore should be allowed to continue.

    The byelaw must achieve an acceptable balance. It must protect mature fish for the benefit of anglers and fishery owners, while allowing sufficient small fish for predator angling.

    We also need to allow for those species that are traditionally taken for eating – pike and grayling. Current levels of exploitation do not appear to have affected stocks of these species, and so removal should be allowed, though again we need to protect the most valuable fish. Allowing anglers to take one pike per day up to 65cm (approx 5lb), protects the larger pike while allowing an angler to take a fish sufficiently large to eat. Two grayling per day between 30 and 38cm will protect not only the specimen grayling, but also the juveniles that have yet to spawn.
    There is no reason to restrict the taking of "tiddler species". Those that are targeted by anglers, primarily bleak and gudgeon, are generally prolific anyway. While spined loach and bullhead have conservation status, they are rarely caught by anglers.

    We have included hybrids of the listed species, simply because anglers may be uncertain over identification. But we have excluded ornamental and coloured varieties, koi carp for example – these should not be in rivers and anglers should not be compelled to return them. The same principle applies to non-native species; these are not listed, allowing anglers to take them where this is appropriate.

    We recognise that occasionally there may be good reason to relax the rules, allowing other species to be taken, or higher limits for pike or grayling. For example, where pike have become established in a salmon river through illegal stocking. The byelaw will allow us to give a special written permission in these situations.
    What will the byelaw do?
    The byelaw allows anglers to remove fish with the owner/occupier’s written permission only.
    The exact wording of the byelaw is presented at the end of this document.
    What is the rationale for this approach to stillwaters?
    Fish in stillwaters usually belong to a fishery owner or occupier. We need to ensure that the byelaw does not conflict with their right to decide whether their fish may be taken. We also need to avoid conflict with existing offences of theft.

    A byelaw that allows any removal of fish from stillwaters conflicts directly with the fact that the fish belong to the owner or occupier. While the owner or occupier would be free to apply tighter rules, anglers breaking those rules would be guilty only of theft; there would be no fisheries byelaw offence and therefore no Environment Agency enforcement.
    On the other hand a byelaw that prohibits the removal of fish from stillwaters also conflicts with owner’s rights. An owner would be guilty of an offence for taking, or allowing others to take, fish that already belong to him! This clearly does not work.

    The solution is to only allow fish to be taken with the owner or occupier’s written permission. This would normally be given through fishery rules printed on permits or day tickets. If an angler removes fish and does not have written permission, then he commits a byelaw offence. In those situations where there is no clear owner of a stillwater, anglers will not be able to remove fish, ensuring that these sites are protected.

    Does the byelaw conflict or duplicate the provisions of the Theft Act? The Theft Act protects private fishing rights, and for stillwaters it protects fish in the sense that they are the private property of the owner or occupier. This protection will be unaffected. The purpose of the byelaw is not to protect private rights or property, but to ensure protection of anglers’ sport and the resulting income for fishery owners and occupiers.
    Eels and shad
    What will the byelaw do?
    The byelaw prohibits the removal of these species by rod and line. They are migratory species and therefore this restrictions applies seaward to 6 nautical miles (the extent of our fisheries jurisdiction).
    Why prohibit removal of eels?
    Eel stocks have suffered a severe decline across the whole of Europe. Under new European regulations we are introducing tighter controls over eel and elver net fishing over the next two years. Mandatory catch and release for angling will complement these net restrictions. It also avoids the need to report anglers’ eel catches to Europe – which will require us to introduce a catch return system for rod caught eels. Given that relatively few eels are taken by anglers, and the widespread support of the angling community, we think that a complete ban on removal of eels by angling is justified.
    Why prohibit removal of shad?
    There are two species of shad. Both are protected through conservation legislation. It illegal to fish for or take Allis shad, and we expect this to soon be the case for Twaite shad. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 extends our byelaw powers to shad, and therefore we a taking this opportunity to prohibit their removal by rod and line. While this may duplicate conservation legislation, it makes it clear to anglers that any shad caught must be returned.
    The purpose of this part of the byelaw is to clarify that the restrictions do not apply to fish kept in a keepnet or keepsack and subsequently released.
    Schedule 1
    This lists the fish species to which the byelaw applies. Coarse fish species not on this list may be taken.
    Schedule 2
    A small number of large natural lakes have multiple ownership, and therefore need to be treated in the same way as rivers. This schedule lists these natural stillwaters.
    Schedule 3
    canals can be regarded as stillwaters, as fish are contained (by locks) and therefore owned. This is the basis on which the close season was removed from canals. Those few canals that are actually rivers are listed in Schedule 3, and therefore subject to same rules as rivers.

    Schedule 4
    Introduction of these national fish removal byelaws requires that some existing regional byelaws must be revoked or modified. This schedule sets out the changes that are needed to remove any conflict with existing byelaws.
    The byelaw
    The wording of the byelaw is replicated below.


    The Environment Agency, in exercise of powers conferred on it under section 210 of, and paragraph 6(1)(b) of Schedule 25 to the Water Resources Act 1991 hereby makes the following Byelaws.
    Byelaw 1 Application of Byelaws
    These Byelaws shall apply to the area (specified in Section 6(7) of the Environment Act 1995) in respect of which the Agency carries out its functions relating to fisheries except the Upper Esk.
    Byelaw 2 Interpretation of Byelaws
    In these Byelaws except where expressly stated or where the context otherwise requires, all words and expressions used in these Byelaws shall have the meanings assigned to them by the Environment Act 1995, Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and the Water Resources Act 1991 except the meaning of the term "drain" is not confined to that assigned to it by the Water Resources Act 1991
    "Upper Esk" has the same meaning as assigned to it in the Scotland Act 1998 (Border Rivers) Order 1999.
    Byelaw 3 Fish Removal
    (i) No person may remove by rod and line any freshwater fish listed in Schedule 1 from any river, stream or drain, or from the waters listed in either Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 except:
    (a) 15 fish, other than grayling, of not more than 20cm per day.
    (b) 1 pike of not more than 65cm per day.
    (c) 2 grayling of not less than 30cm and not more than 38cm per day.
    The size of any fish shall be ascertained by measuring from the tip of the snout to the fork or cleft of the tail.
    Byelaw 3

    (i) does not apply where written permission has been given by the Environment Agency to the owner or occupier of the fishery to dispense with any of these requirements in relation to those fishing the owner's or occupier’s waters.
    (ii) No person may remove by rod and line any freshwater fish from any stillwaters or canals (other than those listed in Schedules 2 or 3) except with the written permission of the owner or occupier of the fishery.
    (iii) No person may remove by rod and line any eels or shad from any waters.

    Byelaw 3 shall not apply to any person who with as little injury as possible either returns fish immediately to the same water alive or retains fish in a keepnet or keepsack and then returns it to the same water alive on or before completion of fishing.
    Byelaw 4 Amendments and Revocations
    (i) The amendments to existing Byelaws set out in Schedule 4 shall have effect
    (ii) The revocations of existing Byelaws set out in Schedule 5 shall have effect.
    was affixed on 16th day of December 2009 in the presence of
    Authorised Signatory
    Fish species
    Common name
    Abramis bjoerkna
    Silver bream
    Abramis brama
    Common bream
    Barbus barbus
    Carassius carassius
    Crucian carp
    Cyprinus carpio
    Common carp
    Leuciscus cephalus
    Leuciscus leuciscus
    Rutilus rutilus
    Scardinius erythrophthalmus
    Tinca tinca
    Esox lucius
    Osmerus eperlanus
    Thymallus thymallus
    Perca fluviatilis
    Including hybrids between any of the above species.
    Excluding ornamental varieties or colour variants of the above species.

  • #2
    Whilst I approve of this in principle I believe to help the eel there needs to be an immediate ban on elver fishing as that's where the damage is being done. I may be wrong but I would think that eel/elver trapping has a far bigger effect on stocks than angling so banning the taking of eels by anglers is going to have little effect.

    I'm not clear whether the rules about river pike just apply to anglers and keepers will still be allowed to remove pike by trapping and snaring.
    Last edited by sewinbasher; 28-12-2009, 09:51 PM.


    • #3
      The use of snares and traps is a banned activity
      The Only " Authorised persons " allowed to use a snare if deemed absolutely neccessary are now EA officers and they must have a senior officers approval prior to engaging in such an activity.
      traps can be licenced for special specific scientific purposes in writing only by the EA.
      Hope this helps
      Last edited by kwilliams; 28-04-2011, 02:06 PM.
      "Illic es nullus sic caecus ut illud ut operor non volo video vidi visum !"


      • #4
        I love the way they havn't banned the netting of eels but they have banned the working man from taking an eel home for his dinner.

        I think until there is a total ban on the netting of eels, then an angler should be able to take one home for his dinner.


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