Angling Trust and National Swan Convention Join Forces to Tackle Litter
Angling’s representative body, the Angling Trust, has met with the National Swan Convention (NSC) to draw up a joint programme of work to address the problem of discarded fishing tackle injuring swans and other birds. The NSC recorded 329 swans injured by fishing tackle in 2010 out of a total of 1,402 rescued birds. Other major causes included pollution, unidentified injuries and vandalism.
The NSC has identified a number of black spots throughout the UK where its volunteers are regularly called out to rescue birds tangled up in line and/or hooks. Other areas have very few or no incidents. This suggests that angling, if carried out responsibly, need not cause any significant damage to birds.
The Angling Trust has committed to:
• Organise litter clean ups with volunteer anglers and swan rescuers at hotspots, coupled with local publicity campaigns to encourage anglers to take away any litter they find;
• Investigate alterations to the angling arrangements at hotspots with free fishing to avoid future problems;
• Encourage its 1,400 member clubs and fisheries to organise and publicise litter clean-ups as part of its Tidy Angler project;
• Urge anglers to buy a ‘Litter Buggy’ which provides a simple and convenient solution for anglers to take away waste line, hooks and other litter;
• Publicise a code of conduct for anglers to encourage them to take away litter and advise them about techniques for avoiding losing line and hooks;
• Provide contact details of local swan rescue groups for anglers to report injured water birds.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: “We are determined to improve the image of angling by tackling this issue head on. A tiny minority of anglers cause the vast majority of the problem, whereas most anglers make a positive contribution by tidying away their own and other people’s litter. Tens of thousands of anglers volunteer and make donations to support conservation work on banks and beaches. We are delighted to be working in partnership with an organisation which has in the past been critical of angling.”
Peter Martin, Chairman of the National Swan Convention, said: “On behalf of the group I represent, I welcome wholeheartedly the opportunity offered by the start of what urgently needs to be a constructive dialogue between two groups which, hitherto have not seen eye to eye. The urgency derives from the fact angling related incidents are, and have been for very many years – that is, since some discipline was introduced to the keeping of rescue records - by far the major reason for rescuers being called out; accounting for in excess of 30% of all rescues. It is an issue heavy with emotion. Improvements will come about only by seeking common ground, and not as has been the case all too often in the past, hurling abuse at one another. I don’t pretend for one moment it will be easy, or that there will be any quick fixes, but, this is a really positive first step, and we must do all we can to ensure the process gathers momentum.”