FROM THE ANGLING TRUST

For several years I have been berating the EA, Severn Rivers Trust and Angling Trust regarding the complete lack of interest and study in pike and zander on my local rivers, namely the Severn, Warwickshire Avon and Wye. In my job, I attend many conferences, at which pike and zander are never mentioned. This, to me, is wrong - because studying predators can tell us so much about our waters generally. We now, however, have a result.

The intention is to recruit anglers to participate in a survey on pike and zander on the Severn and Warwickshire Avon, and pike on the Wye.

The first phase of this is training participants to remove and preserve scales, over the course of at least one season on those venues, to establish a formal baseline of data for future comparison and scientific study. This will help establish annual growth rates and patterns.

The EA is providing all anglers involved with scale sampling kits, and training us in their use at Kinver Freeliners' Woodland Lodge Park Pools, Tasley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, on Sunday 1 June - time TBA. This initiative is supported by PAC and ZAC, and PAC members, therefore, are most welcome. Anyone wishing to participate, please email me on dilip.sarkar@anglingtrust.net for full details.

We are also very interested in tracking pike and zander movements. We know from angling experience that pike behave differently ion that respect, for example, on the Severn compared to the Wye. Due to their individual markings, pike are, of course, easy to identify and track, but in future we will be looking to raise funding for electro-tagging and tracking. Zander, we know, move great distances, but we don't know for sure exactly how far upstream they have colonised on the Severn. We also now know that zander dorsal fins are uniquely marked, so photographing and recording them will enable individual fish to be tracked.

It will then be interesting to compare data concerning pike and zander collated from the Severn to that from the Warwickshire Avon, and compare the pike data in all three rivers.

This is a major step forward, as it is the first time, to my knowledge, predatory fish have been formally studied in these parts. This will help pike and zander achieve a greater level of appreciation and understanding amongst fishery professionals and scientists. We are also very concerned about zander remaining on the alien species list, but changing that is an incredibly complex and drawn out process. Any argument for removal would have to be backed up by hard scientific data, disproving initial fears that zeds would wipe waters out. By proving that these rivers are comparatively healthy, which we know them to be, otherwise they would not be producing quality pike and zander, that will help - because to date, very little research beyond Neville Fickling's Fenland work of 30 years ago, exists. It is also intended to encourage anglers in other areas of the country to work with the EA on similar projects, to provide a substantial amount of data - the Trent, for example, is crying out for study. All of this data would be complimentary - and dovetail into the great work John Currie and friends initiated with Broadland pike.

The Severn Rivers Trust is in the process of organising another conference, hopefully at Worcester University, details TBA, at which I have been asked to speak on this project - which is a first. I will also be explaining more about it at the forthcoming ZAC mini-convention in Cambridge on 8 June.

So, anyone interested in getting involved and attending the training day on 1 June, please contact me: dilip.sarkar@anglingtrust.net.

Cheers.
 
Dilip Sarkar MBE

Fisheries Enforcement Manager
Angling Trust
Office: 01905 420441 | Mobile: 07971 677638
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