The 2011 Fred J Taylor Award for environmental stewardship, sponsored by the Angling Trust and the CLA Game Fair, has been won by the Avon Roach Project. Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price received the award at this year’s Game Fair to recognise the many years of work they have put into their pioneering work to rear roach from spawn from the River Avon in Hampshire.
Local landowners have donated land for the volunteers to create stew ponds where they have successfully hatched and grown on thousands of baby roach for stocking into the river. The pair have also designed and installed spawning boards in the river to encourage natural regeneration of roach stocks, which have plummeted in recent years. Cormorant predation, over abstraction and habitat degradation have all contributed to the decline in numbers.
In addition to a silver trophy donated by the CLA Game Fair, the project has received a cheque for £1,000 from the Angling Trust to contribute to its ongoing work.
Trevor Harrop said: “We are delighted and honoured to receive the Fred J Taylor award. Funding is always the proverbial thorn in the side of any project such as ours and this will help us enormously in our efforts to return a self sustaining population of one of the country’s most enigmatic species of fish to one of the country’s most endearing rivers. An Avon without roach is an Avon that has lost some of its soul and to contemplate this is simply unthinkable. The full story, including a short film made by our great friend Hugh Miles can be seen at www.avonroachproject.co.uk”
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said: “this is a project which encapsulates all that is good about anglers’ work to improve rivers. These volunteers have worked tirelessly for years to save what is most anglers’ favourite coarse fish on this most iconic of river fisheries. I can still remember catching my first roach more than 30 years ago and Trevor and Budgie have made it possible for a future generations of anglers to have that wonderful experience on the River Avon. Many congratulations to them both.”
Vincent Hedley Lewis, Chairman of the Game Fair Management Board said: “The CLA Game Fair is delighted to support this award to recognise the fantastic work that anglers carry out throughout the countryside to improve and protect the water environment. This project is a worthy winner of the trophy in memory of the great Fred J Taylor.”