Over recent years there has been a trend for coarse fisheries to be more and more intensively stocked and managed in order to attract more anglers. There has been criticism from a number of groups concerning the environmental implications of such fisheries and the welfare of the fish in them.

In its evidence to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review, the Institute of Fisheries Management proposed that Codes of Practice should be developed for fisheries management. This approach was supported by the Moran Committee.  The Government agreed with the Review recommendation that Codes of Practice are needed for coarse fisheries management.

As a result the Institute of Fisheries Management has drawn up Codes of Practice along with the Commercial Coarse Fisheries Association (CCFA) and fully endorsed by the Moran Committee.

The final codes are now complete following extensive consultation and give clear guidance on best practice that will protect the environment and welfare of fish. Areas covered by the codes include, Physical Habitat, Nutrition, Species Suitability, Maintenance of Water Quality, Stocking Density, Competitions & Welfare Issues, Exploitation Levels, Fish Health and Predation.

The official launch of the completed codes takes place on Thursday 4th September at Nottingham University during the IFM’s annual conference. It will be attended by a number of high profile guests from a wide variety of fisheries interests including the Environment Agency, Moran Committee, Commercial and Private fisheries and fisheries consultants.

Ash Girdler from the IFM said: “Stillwater coarse fisheries have changed tremendously in recent years. While intensively fished, heavily stocked waters can provide consistently good sport, they need careful management. These IFM codes aim to provide fishery managers and owners with the basic requirements to ensure the welfare of the fish and to maintain the good image of angling.  We anticipate that the majority of fisheries will be more than willing to sign up to the codes and show that they are keen to follow best practice.”