Getting Persuasive on Invasives

One of the biggest dangers to Uk fishing is the increasing risks form invasive species. Signal Crayfish already cause serious issues for anglers and fisheries around the country and the Environment Agency has been working very hard, with some success to eradicate Topmouth Gudgeon which could be catastrophic for UK fisheries if they were left to spread unchecked. There have also been the recent scares with Killer Shrimp and Demon Shrimp, not to mention zebra mussels.

The Topmouth Gudgeon may look harmless, but their ability to spawn several times a year and their ravenous appetite for the eggs of other fish mean that they can soon out compete natural species and end up as the dominant fish in a fishery. The EA are currently in the process of eradicating the species from British waters.

The Angling Trust is lobbying hard both at a UK level and European for a new European Regulation to control invasive non-native species and to bring in controls to get the rest of Europe to take action to stop species like the Killer Shrimp and Demon Shrimp getting to England. So far we have managed to contain the Killer Shrimp to 3 locations in England and Wales thanks to the precautions taken by anglers amongst others, but sitting in Europe are many species that we really do not want over here including Black Sea Gobies and Quagga Mussels. These will damage our fishing if they get here.

An insiders view of Brussels ! the invasive species legislation being discussed by the EU
An insiders view of Brussels ! the invasive species legislation being discussed by the European parliament

By being active in Europe through the European Anglers Alliance and with like minded partners on this issue like the European Environment Bureau and Bird Life we are working hard to get both the European Parliament and the Council to adopt sensible measures to challenge both the threat of what might come here but also what is here already. We hope that all will be in agreement for the Regulation to have its first reading in April so that it can be passed before Parliament breaks for elections in May. We urge anglers to vote in the European Election even if you just ask the candidates one question – Did you support the Regulation in Parliament? If not don’t vote for them.

If you want to know who your MEP is just tap you postcode into this website

By Mark Owen

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