It’s been a tough year for pike fishing and there are even bigger challenges ahead, PAC President Phil Wakeford said in the club’s New Year Message to pike anglers.

 

But rest assured, your club is growing both in numbers and its determination to stand up for the pike and pike fishing.

 

“When we took over the running of the club, I’m sure none of us realised how hard pike fishing was going to come under attack from all sides,” Phil said.

 

“The one positive thing we can take forward as the PAC enters its 30th anniversary year is we have a very strong committee backed up by a hard core of active members, who are united in their determination to stand up for the ideals the club was founded upon.

 

“Our tenure began with the club responding to claims that coarse fish were being netted wholesale from the Norfolk Broads for the deadbait trade.

 

“As well as strongly refuting the story, we introduced a PAC-approved Pikemark, which bait firms could use to show their products come from legal and sustainable sources.

 

“To date, many of Britain‘s biggest suppliers have signed up, showing the that the PAC and tackle trade can work together for the greater good of predator fishing.

 

“Soon after, we were made aware of plans to stop fishing on Abberton Reservoir, which is being enlarged to safeguard water supplies to drought-prone Essex.

 

“While we have not yet reached a satisfactory result here, we are seeing encouraging signs of a rethink on the part of the water company which owns this historically-important pike fishery.

 

“At times it’s been hard to believe we’re now in the 21st Century. Calls for anglers to kill pike have come from everyone from TV chefs, who reckon we ought to eat more of them, to a former World Champion match angler, upset by the number of jacks snatching roach off his pole.

 

“In the case of one TV chef, we won an apology. In the latter case, it emerged large fish were being killed and removed from at least one of the rivers concerned, meaning there were less of them to predate on their smaller cousins, with predictable consequences.

 

“Our line on culls is that they are misguided and can only further upset the natural balance. What matters is that larger pike are conserved, since they are what maintain this balance.

 

“On the fish killing issue, we were relieved when the Fisheries Minister announced tougher fines for those who remove fish wholesale from our waterways for food.

 

“While mass immigration from eastern European countries, where all fish are regarded as a ready food source, is now a reality, we are calling on all pike anglers to report any abuses to the Environment Agency and to do their best to bridge the cultural divide with education.

 

“Our fisheries are our natural heritage, as well as a resource which supports a tackle industry which employs 18,000 people and contributes £500m a year to our economy.

 

“We have frequently found ourselves under attack on several fronts at once this year. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a blanket ban on livebaiting become almost certain to become law in Scotland.

 

“The position in England and Wales is currently unclear, with news that parts of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review could be enacted via “secondary legislation”.

 

“Through our political contacts, we are trying to clarify exactly what this means as we prepare our response. There will be an announcement on this early in the New Year, once we know more about the threat.

 

“One of the committee’s top priorities is to grow the club, because we recognise how vital it is to ensure that the voice which speaks up for the pike and pike fishing is as strong as possible.

 

“To this end, we have launched an ambitious recruitment campaign which gives anyone who enrolls a new member the chance to win a purpose-built pike fishing boat.

 

“Improving communications both within the club and the media and other external bodies is another important goal.

 

“We now have a blog, which is updated sometimes several times a day with all the latest news from the world of pike fishing.

 

“It’s good to see a lot of stories which break on our blog end up subsequently being covered by the media, as this shows that the PAC is on its way to becoming the authoratitive source of news and comment about pike fishing.

 

“Anyone can subscribe and receive daily news updates from us for free. We also have a PAC Forum, which members can use to interact with each other and the committee.

 

“We’ll continue striving to improve communications both within the club and externally, and looking for new ways to reach people and get our message across.

 

“Looking after your pike fishing locally is going to become more and more important to many of us, as rising fuel prices and the increasing costs of running a vehicle make travelling any distance to fish an expensive option.

 

“One way of doing this is to spread the word about the PAC and the work it does to promote safe fish handling and good practice among pike anglers.

 

“Each PAC member is an ambassador not only for the club but for the pike itself. Please equip yourself with relevant leaflets – you can download them from our web site – and hand them out to fellow pikers on the bank.

 

“Please also be ready to give advice and assistance where needed. We all of us had to start pike fishing somewhere, helping a new angler unhook a fish, or even showing them the right tackle and bite indication is an investment for the future care of pike in your waters.

 

“We still have a long way to go in terms of pike welfare but together and with a concerted effort we will get there. We owe it to the pike, which brings us so much pleasure, to do so.

 

“On behalf of your PAC committee and our network of regional and local organisers, I’d like to wish all predator anglers a successful year and assure them that the PAC will be working just as hard on their behalf in 2007.

 

“I’d close by urging anyone who values their pike fishing to join the club and help make the voice which defends it stronger.”

 

You can join the PAC via our website www.pacgb.com For all the latest news from the world of pike fishing, go to http://pacnews.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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