Management of Natural Resources Consultation
by David Griffiths
12 Sep 2017
Picture this scenario: you’ve bought your day or season ticket and you arrive waterside to set up for your fishing session. As you’re putting your rod together a family pitches up nearby and proceeds to jump into the water! Squealing and splashing about, they’re having a great time.
But you’re not. Your session has been ruined leaving you to try to find another undisturbed swim.
You might ask them politely to leave this private water. You might gently point out that, unlike you, they have not paid for access to this water.
However, under a new series of Welsh Assembly Government proposals, currently out for consultation, that’s exactly what could happen if they are passed! Among a wide range of environmental legislation changes aimed at creating a more coherent framework for Wales, unrestricted access for swimmers, kayaks etc. is being considered. And without a seriously strong voice from the angling community that’s what will almost certainly happen.
In effect, everyone will have free, open, unrestricted access to all waterways and stillwaters for whatever recreational activities they wish to pursue. Small clubs may suffer terribly if they cannot restrict access to non-anglers. Many will fold and the care that angling clubs and fisheries take of the environment will cease.
This will be bad news all round. NRW is being touted as the body to “police” the legislation, but they will never replace the day to day activities of fishery managers in maintaining the environment. So eventually the swimmers and kayakers will lose out too.
As a fishery manager myself I do understand that there should be coherent legislation around access to water for all. But a blanket free-for-all access is not the solution for smaller, independent fisheries and associations. Exemptions must be made available.
The consultation runs until 30th September. Click here for full details and to register your opinion on the proposals.
Thanks for Reading
May I thank you once again for supporting this site. I look forward to hearing from readers with your feedback and opinions. Please feel free to comment below and add your voice to the discussion.
May I also recommend you subscribe in the sidebar above. You’ll receive regular update notifications and site news.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Editor, and keen angler!