This week, the newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Angling had its first waterside encounter with a visit to Sparsholt College in Hampshire, and ended up catching the biggest fish in the college lake – a carp of 20lbs 6oz!


The MPs were viewing the National Aquatics Training Centre and looking at the other facilities at the college including their salmonoid hatchery and centres for equine, game and wildlife and countryside management.


The visiting MPs were Martin Salter (Lab, Reading West) and Charles Walker (Con, Broxbourne) – the Chair and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Angling which was established in May this year. After their trip to the College lake the MPs met with Viv Shears and Ruth Lockwood of the English Carp Heritage Organisation (ECHO) to discuss the threat posed to British fisheries from the recently discovered Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) and the measures that need to be taken to try and contain the outbreak.


Martin Salter MP said:


“We had a great day on Monday and it is impossible not to be impressed by the facilities and standard of teaching at Sparsholt College which has the longest established fishery management section in the country. I was delighted that under the expert guidance of Viv Shears that my Conservative colleague Charles Walker was not only to catch his first carp of any size, but that he ended up landing the largest fish in the lake. Charles may be a fly fisherman first and foremost but I think we have probably turned him into a carp convert in three short hours on the banks of Sparsholt College lake!”