BRITISH Waterways’ decision to sign up to a new angling plan has been described as a massive breakthrough for the sport, which could ‘bring canals back to life’.

The British Waterways board has put its name to the new angling policy, which looks set to result in a better deal for anglers and angling clubs and new staff being taken on with a specific remit for dealing with the sport.

Key to the policy will be improved communication between the angling community and BW, which is now committed to actively getting more anglers fishing on its canals. Under the new policy BW is expected to promote club angling, sponsor events and become actively involved in canal rejeneration schemes.

There is even talk that BW could look at developing ‘commercial’ stretches of canal fishing, using expertise gained from their involvement with large stillwaters such as Makin Fisheries and Clattercote and Drayton Reservoirs.

Two leading bodies, the National Federation of Anglers (NFA) and the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC), are at the heart of the breakthrough.

They first presented a blueprint for this policy to BW in 2000, and have been badgering BW bosses to accept the sport as one of their main customer activities ever since. They have finally got their wish, with the accepted policy statement an updated version of the one presented to them five years ago.
“Potentially this could be a massive breakthrough for the sport,” said Martin Reid of NAFAC. “It could bring canals back to life, with help offered to clubs and perhaps BW even taking on some stretches as fisheries, with all that entails including stocking and refurbishment.

For the full story see February’s issue of Midland Angler, out second Wednesday of Jan