Five pilot schemes to improve freshwater fisheries have proved so successful that more are to be launched this autumn.

The Fisheries Action Plans (FAPs) were developed in a partnership between the Environment Agency, anglers, conservationists and other interest groups to increase public involvement in the management and development of their local fisheries.

The pilot schemes were on the Western Rother in the Agency’s Southern Region; Kennet & Pang in Thames Region; The Broads in Anglian Region; the Dove in the Midlands; and Bollin & Dean in the North West. They have resulted in actions ranging from studies into the impact of stocking on wild brown trout to improvements in juvenile coarse fish habitat.

Now, as a result of the pilot plan successes, the Agency through discussion with the Moran Committee – a group of thirteen national fisheries and angling organisations set up to contribute to the Government’s recent Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review – has agreed to create more FAPs.

The next will be on the Ribble, Wensum, Lee and Wye catchments with more following in the coming years.

Environment Agency Fisheries Officer Adrian Taylor said: “The development of the pilot FAPs has been a great success, local groups have really got involved.

“FAPs will change the way fisheries are managed in future. There is already a diverse range of actions underway as a result of these pilots. We are also pleased to announce plans to introduce the FAPs nationally starting with the Ribble, Wensum, Wye and Lee catchments.”

Terry Mansbridge from the Moran Committee added: “This is good news and shows what angling and fisheries bodies working together can achieve. However, these plans must be realistic and must, above all, actually improve the quality of fisheries.”

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