Angling Clubs Wanted for Invasive Plants Project

It may seem odd, but there are people out there who hope your fishery is plagued with invasive non-native plant growth – at least for now! 

If it is, a study group from Newcastle and Leeds Universities needs your help. 

As anglers, we’re all aware that recreational fishing is one of our planet’s biggest participation activities. It impacts positively on human wellbeing and in the UK, we’re aware that it contributes substantially to the nation’s economy. 

However, freshwater fisheries are increasingly threatened by a cohort of stressors. Climate change is much discussed on a global scale and our own Anglers Against Pollution campaign continues to highlight the problems that poor agricultural practice, sewage and other factors cause in our waterways.

There is much talk too, of the damage caused by Signal Crayfish and Quagga mussels (to name just two)…… and then there are invasive, non-native aquatic plants. While there continues to be significant research into the effects of a changing climate on fish ecology and the dominant presence of non-native creatures, invasive plants have been afforded comparatively less interest.

At the height of the growing season, Floating Pennywort can grow up to 20cm per day

Perhaps that lack of research is a little strange when you consider the estimation that invasive aquatic plants have cost the global economy $20 bn in the last 20 years.* It’s a cost created by a series of consequences:

1.. They create suffocating obstructions which restrict users on affected waterways

2.. They dangerously choke natural habitats and the surrounding infrastructure

3.. They force change on local ecosystems which negatively affect aquatic communities – including fisheries

4.. Their presence results in preventative management costs

Now, an academic research group from Newcastle and Leeds Universities is running a project which seeks to understand the way in which invasive plants are affecting U.K. fisheries. It will also highlight the perceptions anglers and general waterway users have of invasive plants. 

Consequently, clubs and fisheries across the country who have invasive plant species on their waters are sought for this Invasive Plant Study. 

Interested participants might also have up-to-date and reliable records of angler catches. For example, these could include detailed match results from events staged over a long period. 

The data captured will help the research group and collaborating partners including the Angling Trust and the Canal and River Trust, to motivate for funding to remove plants and restore waterways. 

To achieve this, knowledge is everything. 

If you think your fishery or club can help, please take a moment to complete the survey at:

Your help really could make a difference. 

This project is led by a research team at the University of Newcastle and the University of Leeds, with support from the Angling Trust. 

Any further queries can be directed to Dr Zarah Pattison ( and Dr Josie South (

*Source: University of Newcastle

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