Over recent years there has been a trend for coarse fisheries to be intensively stocked and managed in order to attract more anglers.

There have been concerns over the environmental implications of such fisheries and the welfare of the fish in them. A new accreditation scheme for fisheries will address these fears.

In 2003 the Institute of Fisheries Management issued Codes of Practice for Stillwater Coarse Fisheries, which gave clear guidance on best practice that will protect the environment and welfare of fish.

As a follow up to these codes, the IFM in partnership with the Angling Foundation and the Environment Agency have set up an accreditation scheme.

Its aim is to drive upwards the competence of fisheries managers and to encourage those managers to demand similar levels from those that supply fish, provide fishery management advice, transport fish and carry out health examinations. This will have direct and indirect benefits to the health and welfare of fish stocked into stillwater coarse fisheries.

Each fishery wishing to become accredited will be inspected by qualified IFM officers using the ‘codes of practice’ as a baseline for the standards that will be assessed. If successful, the fishery will be issued with a certificate – at gold, silver or bronze level – and will be entitled to state they are accredited at the site and on any publicity they produce.

The public launch will take place on Tuesday 18th September 2007, 10.30am-3.30pm at Nottingham Forest Football Ground, Nottingham NG2 5FJ

It will include a series of talks and presentations throughout the day.

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. This scheme is being introduced to encourage fisheries managers to take responsibility for the management of their fisheries and raise standards. Eventually, we would like to see all fisheries signed up to the scheme. This will result in major benefits to the fish, to the fisheries and to angling.”