The Angling Trust has offered its support to the Victoria Park Anglers Alliance (VPAA) which is fighting a decision by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to remove fish from two lakes in Victoria Park which are a vital resource for coaching young anglers.
The fish were removed as part of a redevelopment of the park, and have been stored at taxpayers’ expense, so that they could be restocked after the work was complete. However, the Council has indicated in recent months that it wishes to cease fishing on the lakes and dispose of the carp, some of which have been in the lakes for decades. There has been no consultation about this decision with the local community and it has come as a complete shock to the VPAA, who were partners in the redevelopment project.
The lakes in Victoria Park are a vital resource for coaching young anglers
The lakes previously provided an invaluable resource to local anglers by offering a range of angling from fishing for large carp in the West Lake to fishing for smaller fish in the East Lake. This attracted not only specimen anglers but also local young people wanting to learn how to fish. This resource has been much missed during the redevelopment and anglers are dismayed that it might become permanent.
The VPAA have submitted proposals to the Council including volunteering opportunities to contribute and share in the maintenance and improvement of the facilities. These are in agreement with the aims of the Community Park Rangers service, because such opportunities play a significant role in broadening local people’s appreciation and engagement with the lake habitats, and the park as a whole. With the ongoing support from the Environment Agency and Tower Hamlets parks staff, free angling coaching in the park also helps to increase enjoyment of the facilities in Victoria Park.
There has been no consultation by the London Borough of Tower Hamlet Council with the local community about a decision to cease fishing on the lakes and dispose of the
carp, some of which have been in the lakes for decades
Keith Lancaster, Chair of the Victoria Park Anglers Alliance said: “We hope that Mayor Lutfur Rahman will recognise that this is an indefensible and unacceptable disregard for the public consultation process, and that he will overturn this spurious decision and ensure that both lakes are stocked [as still stated on the LBTH website], the old carp population returned to the West lake, and that LBTH open discussion about the ticketing and management of the lakes and return of the free angling coaching program, for the benefit of all visitors to the park.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:
“This is yet another example of the salami-slicing of angling access around the country. Many local authorities are working closely with the Angling Trust and the Angling Development Board to improve facilities and to increase angling participation for young people. We call on the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to get these lakes re-stocked with fish once again and restore a vital resource for the local community and for angling as a whole.”