The NFA in partnership with the Barbel Society, SAA and other members of the Fish Welfare Group have worked together to produce a new Barbel Handling Guide.


This guide has been produced to help raise anglers’ awareness of the need to handle barbel carefully & return them as safely as possible. Anglers can download a copy of the guide from the “New to Angling” section on the NFA website:


The guide was developed in response to concerns by members of the National Fish Welfare Group that not enough specific information was available to anglers in such a user friendly format. It is aimed at those in particular who are new to the sport of angling, but particularly barbel fishing.


Most of the principles in the guide can be applied to the handling of any species of fish, however with barbel, extra care needs to be taken when returning them.


“I saw that there was the need to develop a user friendly guide that can be easily accessed by any angler or club. I want to thank in particular the SAA & Barbel Society in working in partnership on this project with the NFA. It is important for angling that key organisations such as these can work closely together. All anglers can learn from the guide and I recommend they keep a copy on them at all times”

Julian Taylor, NFA Angling Development Officer. 


“Specialist Anglers’ Alliance hopes that all anglers will follow this new code and help protect barbel in all waters.  We believe that clubs and fisheries across Britain should adopt this code as “best practice” and are grateful to the NFA, other members of the FACT Fish Welfare Group and the Barbel Society for their help in preparing and publishing it.”
Michael Heylin, Secretary SAA.


“The Barbel Society is very pleased that the NFA has adopted its Handling Code. The more anglers that are made aware of the procedures that the barbel requires for its well being, the better. We hope that special note is taken of the retention recommendations, especially with regard to match fishing. It also shows how organisations from differing aspects of our sport can work together where fish welfare is the issue and this can only bode well for the future.”

Steve Pope, Chairman, Barbel Society.


Dr Bruno Broughton, Technical Director to the Angling Trades Association, applauded the publication of the Code.


It is in everyone’s interests to establish and promote the highest standards of fish welfare. This Code sets out sound, sensible information that will help ensure that barbel can be caught safely and returned unharmed from that experience. I urge every angler to read and follow the advice contained within it.”


The guide is available for download in an A4 format and also a A5 folded version.