A new accord has been struck between the Anglers Conservation Association and the Pike Anglers Club.


The clean rivers watchdog and Britain‘s top predator group have agreed to put their differences behind them and work together for the greater good of conserving both the pike and the environment it lives in.


One of the first things to develop from this new working relationship is a code of conduct for pike matches, which will become included in the rules for future ACA Pike Championships, which are run in association with Angling Times, and its nationwide series of qualifiers.


While some PAC members are opposed to all-comers pike matches, the club is neither endorsing or promoting the ACA event.


After lengthy discussions, the PAC committee took the view that since we could not stop pike matches being held, we had a responsibility as a pike conservation group to lobby organisers to ensure matches are fished under rules with regard to basic standards of tackle, unhooking gear, stewarding and weighing.


The ACA for its part will promote the PAC to those taking part in its event, which again helps us spread the conservation message.


Pike anglers with longer memories may also remember comments made by ACA officials in the past concerning livebaiting.


The ACA has now clarified its stance on this and after lengthy discussions spanning both the current committee and its predecessors, it is time to put the past behind us and move on.


Mark Lloyd, the ACA’s executive director, said:


“I am writing to thank the PAC for providing its code of conduct for use at the ACA British Pike Championship finals. The ACA is extremely keen that this competition – which raises nearly £20,000 a year for the Association -should be carried out to have the minimum impact on the environment, fish welfare and the fisheries which host the finals.


“Although in 30 years of the competition only one fish has died while being handled, we are keen to adopt the PAC’s code as we recognise that it represents best practice in predator angling and would like to raise awareness of it amongst the thousands of competitors in the Championships.


“I am delighted that the ACA has rebuilt links with the PAC recently.


“I understand that previous employees of the Association made comments about livebaiting in the past which led to a breakdown of relations between the two organisations.


“I can confirm that the new management at the ACA is focused solely on fighting pollution and other damage to our members’ fisheries, and we will not get involved in commenting on the techniques anglers use to catch fish.

Other organisations in angling have this remit and our members support us to fight polluters and not to criticise anglers.


“I hope very much that the ACA and PAC can work closely together for a better water environment, healthier fish and better angling for all throughout the UK. I believe our respective programmes of work complement each other to this end and look forward to welcoming PAC members as subscribers to the ACA.


“Similarly, I hope that anglers fishing in the British Pike Championships will feel encouraged to support the PAC.”