Angling Trust call for a balanced approach to Zander gets backing from across the sport

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Zander may have been present in UK waters since the 19th Century but they have never been far away from controversy with increasing numbers of predator anglers welcoming them as a sporting fish whilst others continue to blame Zander for declines in silver fish stocks, particularly on parts of the canal network.

The implications of the various regulations are not entirely clear resulting in some demands to criminalise anglers for returning Zander whilst others have been calling for an end to the right of clubs and riparian owners to manage Zander populations in their fisheries.

After consultation with advocates on both sides of the debate, the Angling Trust has produced a policy position on Zander which accepts that the fish are here to stay and are officially classified as no more than “medium risk”. The paper recognises that Zander are a legitimate sporting target for catch and release fishing and should be accepted as such in enclosed stillwaters and catchments where they are established and causing no undue problems. However, the Trust also supports the right of clubs and fishery owners to manage Zander stocks in waters where they are considered to be damaging, as the law allows.

The new policy paper has been described as “balanced and responsible” and has attracted support from both match and predator anglers and from key figures in the angling trade including England Manager Mark Downes, Cadence canal specialist Darren Massey, predator experts Gary Knowles, Mark Powell-Bevan and Gary Palmer, Mat Woods, Brand Manager at Korum and Daryl Hodges, Head of Marketing at Dynamite & Normark UK.

Mat Woods said:

“For me this issue has always been about choice. In the past, those choices were taken away and anglers were vilified for targeting Zander. Barriers are bad for angling – in any form – so I’m delighted to see such a cognisant and palatable policy that breaks down those barriers. Anglers and riparians alike should have a choice when it comes to Zander. With clarification on those choices I believe we will see more anglers fishing for them. That’s good for angling, whichever way you look at it.”

Mark Downes said:

“I agree with the Angling Trust stance on Zander as it covers all bases with regard to competitions. I feel ultimately the riparian owners must be able to control their own fisheries.”

The Angling Trust paper states:

Zander are a popular and valued sport fish amongst many predator anglers and have enjoyed recognition in the official British Record (rod caught) Fish lists for many years. Equally, we acknowledge that in certain environments their presence is not welcomed by other coarse and competition anglers who view Zander as detrimental to their own sport.

The Trust argues for the following:

  • Angler choice coupled with freedom for angling clubs to take appropriate management measures with regards to Zander.
  • The use of permitted control methods by riparian owners, particularly in canals or in enclosed stillwaters, to manage their Zander populations.
  • No support for attempts to force unwilling anglers to be part of any cull and will oppose any moves to criminalise anglers for choosing to immediately return Zander they have legally caught on rod and line in waters where they are already established.
  • Clarification with joint approach to DEFRA to seek a specific Code of Practice for the management of Zander under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Encouragement for the Canal & Rivers Trust and other riparian owners seeking to manage Zander populations in their waters to actively consider the creation of Canal Zander Zones and bespoke Zander fisheries on totally enclosed stillwaters with a view to creating more legal sustainable Zander fisheries delivering angling opportunities with low risk of environmental harm.

The document ends with the following commitment aimed at bridging the Zander divide:

The Angling Trust is committed to working with all our partners and stakeholders in resolving the fishery management issues and conflicts around the presence and capture of Zander in English waters.

Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust said:

“Division in angling is never good and we’ve worked extremely hard on this difficult issue to develop a sensible and pragmatic way forward. Criminalising anglers for practising catch and release fishing is unacceptable and unnecessary. If Zander stocks need to be controlled, and we totally accept that there are locations where this is the case, then there are more efficient and palatable ways of getting the job done. And let’s face it the Environment Agency and the police have many more pressing issues to deal with including tackling polluters, poachers and other wildlife crimes.”

The paper was compiled by Martin Salter, Angling Trust’s Head of Policy, who added:

“The more I dug into this issue the more I realised that with a bit of give and take on both sides there was a sensible way forward. I’m old enough to remember the dire predictions that were flying around in the 1970s about what Zander were going to do to fish stocks in the Fens and later in the Trent and the Severn. In reality, they have established themselves and a balance has been found. Whilst the law quite rightly allows for controls where necessary, particularly on the shallower canals, in many locations Zander have become a valued sporting target and our fishery rules need to reflect this fact.”

Download a copy of the full paper HERE

cover-zander-paper-214x300.jpg

The post Angling Trust call for a balanced approach to Zander gets backing from across the sport appeared first on Angling Trust.

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tipitinmick

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Don’t go knocking them on the head before I’ve had chance to catch one. It’s a fish on my bucket list is a Zander. Although a friend has told me that they are nothing to write home about the way they fight or rather don’t fight. 🤷‍♂️
 

rd115

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@DontKillZander should be chuffed. It's a species that has been persecuted for far too long i think.

I've never caught one yet, but i'm sure if i had they would have been accidentally dropped back into the Trent (or wherever caught from)
 

JayD

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This is one of the issues I have with both the AT, and the EA,

  • Encouragement for the Canal & Rivers Trust and other riparian owners seeking to manage Zander populations in their waters to actively consider the creation of Canal Zander Zones and bespoke Zander fisheries on totally enclosed stillwaters with a view to creating more legal sustainable Zander fisheries delivering angling opportunities with low risk of environmental harm.
There is much talk of choice, between those who want to have a fish in their waters, and those who don't, but then they talk about having 'Canal Zander Zones', as if fish will stay in these 'zones'. Most canals are connected to rivers, and fish move through locks, so how do they propose preventing the fish from entering a river. It's been the same with carp, and catfish in particular, stocked into canals, or fisheries on flood plains, and there's some kind of assumption that they won't leach into surrounding waters.
"Totally enclosed stilwaters", fair enough, but history suggests that it won't end there.

John
 

squimp

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This is one of the issues I have with both the AT, and the EA,


There is much talk of choice, between those who want to have a fish in their waters, and those who don't, but then they talk about having 'Canal Zander Zones', as if fish will stay in these 'zones'. Most canals are connected to rivers, and fish move through locks, so how do they propose preventing the fish from entering a river. It's been the same with carp, and catfish in particular, stocked into canals, or fisheries on flood plains, and there's some kind of assumption that they won't leach into surrounding waters.
"Totally enclosed stilwaters", fair enough, but history suggests that it won't end there.

John
Fish ‘migration’ is one of the key reasons why there is still a close season on rivers.

The flip side of that is the acknowledgement that today there are established populations of zander in some of our canals and rivers and the guidance to anglers and fishery owners should reflect that fact.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Don’t go knocking them on the head before I’ve had chance to catch one. It’s a fish on my bucket list is a Zander. Although a friend has told me that they are nothing to write home about the way they fight or rather don’t fight. 🤷‍♂️
This was foul hooked in the jaw. Came in like a wet sack and I was able to get in the water and lift it out by hand (landing net too small).

Zander.jpg
 

tipitinmick

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This was foul hooked in the jaw. Came in like a wet sack and I was able to get in the water and lift it out by hand (landing net too small).

Zander.jpg
Seriously Neil ? I wonder why they don’t fight much. You’d think they’d be as fit as a fiddle being a predatory fish. 🤷‍♂️ My mate says the same after I got excited about a possible Zander expedition on the Trent a couple of years ago. I remember him saying …. “ calm down they aren’t that good 🙄 “.
 

JayD

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Fish ‘migration’ is one of the key reasons why there is still a close season on rivers.

The flip side of that is the acknowledgement that today there are established populations of zander in some of our canals and rivers and the guidance to anglers and fishery owners should reflect that fact.
I understand that there are established populations of zander in some areas, and some are happy about that, and some others are not. Either way it's pretty academic because it's unlikely that there would ever be a cull on their present numbers, or even how effective a cull might be.

Fish 'migration' has always happened, mostly natural, but some with the aid of man, but the speed, and area, of the spread of some 'selected' species over the last 25 or so years, has been astronomical! My concern is in the wording of the 'report', "creating canal zander zones" suggests the stocking of some stretches of canal, at the behest of those who control that stretch, with scant regard for those who control others. It also has the knock on effect on any waters connected to the canals in question, and also creates a problem for those who run them.

I have never understood why some anglers 'demand' that they should have every species they fancy, on their 'door step'. If I wanted to catch grayling, I'd go to a water that had them, same with barbel, carp etc. Now it seems that all they have to do is stock them in a local water, sometimes legally, sometimes not, and often with little, if any, regard to the possible environmental effect.

John.
 

squimp

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I understand that there are established populations of zander in some areas, and some are happy about that, and some others are not. Either way it's pretty academic because it's unlikely that there would ever be a cull on their present numbers, or even how effective a cull might be.

Fish 'migration' has always happened, mostly natural, but some with the aid of man, but the speed, and area, of the spread of some 'selected' species over the last 25 or so years, has been astronomical! My concern is in the wording of the 'report', "creating canal zander zones" suggests the stocking of some stretches of canal, at the behest of those who control that stretch, with scant regard for those who control others. It also has the knock on effect on any waters connected to the canals in question, and also creates a problem for those who run them.

I have never understood why some anglers 'demand' that they should have every species they fancy, on their 'door step'. If I wanted to catch grayling, I'd go to a water that had them, same with barbel, carp etc. Now it seems that all they have to do is stock them in a local water, sometimes legally, sometimes not, and often with little, if any, regard to the possible environmental effect.

John.
Reading the entire paper rather than just the press release indicates that this is a particularly complex issue.

Part of that stems from the historic legislation and the inability of the powers that be (EA, CEFAS etc) to control the spread of zander in the early days.

Part of it stems from illegal stocking - which I obviously do not support.

A pragmatic approach suggests we have to start from here (2021):

established populations of zander in various canals and river systems across England.
legislation that says it is technically illegal to return zander, but no regulatory desire to enforce that legislation.
a significant body of anglers who like fishing for zander and not killing them
a significant body of anglers who don’t want/like zander
a minority who want to take fish (including zander) for the table
angling under increasing scrutiny on animal welfare grounds
woefully under funded regulatory bodies - which impacts the debate and its resolution in allsorts of complex ways.

Sort that lot out……

Given where we are; the AT paper strikes me as a sensible compromise.

on the one hand an acknowledgment that asking all anglers to kill every zander they catch is both unworkable and pointless.

on the other, recognition that certain people who control waters have to retain the legal right to remove zander should they so wish.

One last point; I don’t think the paper suggests any diminution of the legislation regarding the stocking of zander into NEW stretches of non-enclosed waters.

So if my local club asks for permission to put them into the upper Bristol Avon, the answer will still be a very firm NO. But If the CRT net one stretch of their canal network and catch a few zander, they MAY be able to move them to ano stretch where there are ALREADY zander.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Seriously Neil ? I wonder why they don’t fight much. You’d think they’d be as fit as a fiddle being a predatory fish. 🤷‍♂️ My mate says the same after I got excited about a possible Zander expedition on the Trent a couple of years ago. I remember him saying …. “ calm down they aren’t that good 🙄 “.
It may have been because this one was in a lake. But even in the shallows it just let me get my arms under it and pick it up.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Reading the entire paper rather than just the press release indicates that this is a particularly complex issue.

Part of that stems from the historic legislation and the inability of the powers that be (EA, CEFAS etc) to control the spread of zander in the early days.

Part of it stems from illegal stocking - which I obviously do not support.

A pragmatic approach suggests we have to start from here (2021):

established populations of zander in various canals and river systems across England.
legislation that says it is technically illegal to return zander, but no regulatory desire to enforce that legislation.
a significant body of anglers who like fishing for zander and not killing them
a significant body of anglers who don’t want/like zander
a minority who want to take fish (including zander) for the table
angling under increasing scrutiny on animal welfare grounds
woefully under funded regulatory bodies - which impacts the debate and its resolution in allsorts of complex ways.

Sort that lot out……

Given where we are; the AT paper strikes me as a sensible compromise.

on the one hand an acknowledgment that asking all anglers to kill every zander they catch is both unworkable and pointless.

on the other, recognition that certain people who control waters have to retain the legal right to remove zander should they so wish.

One last point; I don’t think the paper suggests any diminution of the legislation regarding the stocking of zander into NEW stretches of non-enclosed waters.

So if my local club asks for permission to put them into the upper Bristol Avon, the answer will still be a very firm NO. But If the CRT net one stretch of their canal network and catch a few zander, they MAY be able to move them to ano stretch where there are ALREADY zander.
One stretch of canal near me was electrofished and three quarters of a tonne of zander were removed. I don't know what happened to them but I wouldn't want them moved into any water I controlled.

Incidentally shoals of large bream were observed during the same electrofishing process. No one ever catches these bream and no one knew they were there.
 

JayD

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.

A pragmatic approach suggests we have to start from here (2021):

established populations of zander in various canals and river systems across England.
legislation that says it is technically illegal to return zander, but no regulatory desire to enforce that legislation.
a significant body of anglers who like fishing for zander and not killing them
a significant body of anglers who don’t want/like zander
a minority who want to take fish (including zander) for the table
angling under increasing scrutiny on animal welfare grounds
woefully under funded regulatory bodies - which impacts the debate and its resolution in allsorts of complex ways.

Sort that lot out……

Given where we are; the AT paper strikes me as a sensible compromise.

on the one hand an acknowledgment that asking all anglers to kill every zander they catch is both unworkable and pointless.

on the other, recognition that certain people who control waters have to retain the legal right to remove zander should they so wish.

One last point; I don’t think the paper suggests any diminution of the legislation regarding the stocking of zander into NEW stretches of non-enclosed waters.

So if my local club asks for permission to put them into the upper Bristol Avon, the answer will still be a very firm NO. But If the CRT net one stretch of their canal network and catch a few zander, they MAY be able to move them to ano stretch where there are ALREADY zander.
I admit to not reading the entire paper, I will when I get the time.
I do appreciate that there have been some barriers to dealing with non indigenous species of fish, and many of the problems are caused by anglers themselves. When I said that 'creating a canal zander zone' would involve stocking lengths where they are wanted, I didn't mean it had to be new stock, relocated stock serve the same purpose. If a stretch of canal has had a population of zander for some time, I would assume that some kind of balance had been achieved over that time. I know fish are free to move through locks, but it would be in small numbers over a period of time. If a length was netted, and all the stock went into another length or two, it would cause a massive imbalance in pred' to prey numbers, to the detriment of the fishery. Detrimental except for those who want to catch zander, the rest would just have to 'suck it up'. In time the fish would migrate, and the whole procedure would have to be repeated. If the zander numbers have increased over that time, then there would be even more fish to transfer. This brings me to the section of your post I've high lighted.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a lengthy post about the possible impact the new animal welfare bill might have on angling, I then deleted it. I deleted it because over time I've got to realise that most anglers don't seem to want to discuss, or even acknowledge the possibility of such thing happening, all they want to do is catch more fish. This paper, and your post has brought it to the fore again, so I'll attempt an abridged version. The proposed solution of a "more efficient and palatable way" of solving this predicament isn't just about zander, it covers the EA and ATs thinking on much of what's happened over the last 25 or so years. A large number of waters were stocked, many well overstocked, with mainly carp, but also catfish, and other 'exotics'. The practice spread, and many seemed surprised that these fish bred, and grew. They did so well that some waters weren't providing the size of fish that the customer demanded, so either the fishery changed to accommodate a different customer, or netted the bigger fish out. Some waters had already high stock levels, that a couple of successful breeding years saw the numbers get unmanageable so they netted them to a lower level. In both cases the fish were usually moved on to another water, creating more carp/exotic based fisheries, and so on, just like the current proposed transfer of zander. At some stage, this has got to stop, because the so called 'antis' will use this as proof that anglers are just as bad, if not worse that those who breed birds to be shot. It's no use saying 'but we release our fish', they see that as breeding and abusing a creature purely for our own pleasure/amusement, some advocate that fishing for the pot is more ethical than catch and release.
The possible impact of this bill could have serious consequences for angling, maybe not a ban, but it could force a change in what have become accepted practises.

John.
 

squimp

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I’ve steered well clear of the debate on ‘animal welfare’.

Primarily because I know quite a bit about that subject following 15 years involvement in high level angling representation.

I share your fear that most anglers have their heads so far stuck in the sand that they can’t see the issues we need to address before somebody else does it for us……..
 

Pompous git

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I understand that there are established populations of zander in some areas, and some are happy about that, and some others are not. Either way it's pretty academic because it's unlikely that there would ever be a cull on their present numbers, or even how effective a cull might be.

Fish 'migration' has always happened, mostly natural, but some with the aid of man, but the speed, and area, of the spread of some 'selected' species over the last 25 or so years, has been astronomical! My concern is in the wording of the 'report', "creating canal zander zones" suggests the stocking of some stretches of canal, at the behest of those who control that stretch, with scant regard for those who control others. It also has the knock on effect on any waters connected to the canals in question, and also creates a problem for those who run them.

I have never understood why some anglers 'demand' that they should have every species they fancy, on their 'door step'. If I wanted to catch grayling, I'd go to a water that had them, same with barbel, carp etc. Now it seems that all they have to do is stock them in a local water, sometimes legally, sometimes not, and often with little, if any, regard to the possible environmental effect.

John.
Quite so, if a bod wants to catch a zander then go to a water which contains them.

I will kill any zander I catch and make no apologies.
 

Pompous git

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Watcha total,, I had what was the my shortest fishing session last week. It was lovely and sunny but a northerly wind got up
and it was like a knife, got fooled by the sunshine and left my jacket at home. What has this got to do with zander I hear you
ask, bugger all.

As for zander, death, slaughter, die, kill. You get the message....
 
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