SOME long-awaited research into the river close season has concluded that half of all rod licence holders want to retain the three-month river close season.
Exactly 50 per cent of those surveyed are in favour of the close season, while 35 per cent want it scrapped and 15 per cent are undecided.
When asked for their reasons, 80 per cent of those in favour of the break said that they believed fish need time to rest and breed, while 70 per cent of those that wanted it abolished said that they either didn’t believe there was any need for a river close season, or simply wanted more fishing time.
But the EA is coming under some severe criticism for only talking to 400 anglers out of over a million licence buyers.
The worry is that the EA will almost certainly use these results as a mandate to put the thorny issue on the back burner for another five to ten years.
This could be catastrophic for many river-owning angling clubs, who see much of their season lost to floods in the winter and then have to twiddle their thumbs for three months just as the rivers are coming right, while the commercial fisheries rake in the money.
One club which has vociferously argued that the close season needs to be lifted is the Birmingham Anglers Association, which is still one of the biggest clubs in the country even thought it’s membership has fallen to an all-time low of just over 10,000.
Commenting on the announcement made by the EA this week, vice president John Williams said: “I simply cannot understand how the EA can think that talking to 400 anglers over an issue of this magnitude is enough. It’s just an excuse to do nothing and leave things as they are.
“It’s the kind of decision that will see many lengths of river lost to anglers forever as clubs will simply have to give them up because they can’t make them pay.”
The EA sends a magazine out to every paying licence holder (that’s over a million of us) and here at Total-Fishing we would like to see the next one include a questionnaire on the close season issue.
Every licence buyer would be given the chance to give their opinion and only then will we get a truly representative picture.
In fact we would like to know what their excuse is for NOT doing this and talking to just 400 anglers instead. Maybe someone can let us know…..