140yearold law preventing river fishing during spring likely to be scrapped following

first_imgThe evidence paper will contain no “slam dunk arguments,” according to Martin Salter, head of campaigns at the Angling Trust, who sat on the review panel.But he said it will provide a thorough examination of all sides of the argument for the first time, including evidence from countries such as Ireland which does not have a closed season, to little detrimental effect.“The review concludes that there is a case for a risk-based decision on changing the close season,” he said.“It does not draw any conclusions for any one way forward but it will lead to a wider consultation with anglers and provide a body of evidence that draws upon the experience of fishery managers across Europe to help inform views.”A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We have been working with the Angling Trust and the Institute of Fisheries Management on a review of the available evidence around the close season.”We are considering possible options for future close season arrangements in more detail and will be gauging which of these would be supported by anglers and fishery managers.”The closed season for anglers is thought to be one of the longest running laws in British history. It is possible the idea was inspired by the Game Act 1831, which imposed similar restrictions on various breeds of bird. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A 140-year-old law that prevents river fishing for three months a year could be scrapped following a Government review.The Environment Agency is due to publish an evidence paper this month following a two-year consultation with fishery scientists and members of the angling community.The law was introduced under the Freshwater Fisheries Act 1878 so fish could complete the “procreation of their species in peace and quiet” from March 15 until June 15.But the ban has been the subject of heavy criticism for decades from anglers who say it is outdated and unnecessary.Many argue that most of the target species – roach, bream, perch, chub and barbel – do not spawn until the end of April or early May and that regardless, fish very rarely eat during spawning season.The close season on still waters and canals have both been lifted in the last 25 years, with no demonstrable impact on fish stocks.In an online poll of 7,000 anglers by the Angling Times, 71 per cent said they were in favour of scrapping the closed season altogether, while others called for it to be shortened.last_img read more