Fishermen?s friends

Fishermen?s friends

Bird watchers and anglers have a lot in common. We both spend a lot of time out in the cold, staring at expanses of water in lonely places. We are both interested in Nature and wetland areas;though it seems to me that most anglers know a lot more about birds than birders do about fish. So it came as a shock to me to hear that some Berkshire bird-watchers had been offensive to a number of anglers over access to lakes and over maintenance work on angling sites, which has resulted in a loss of goodwill and the withdrawal of certain access privileges for bird-watchers.

Anglers often pay a lot for fishing rights and have costly equipment that they understandably do not want damaged. They also own or lease a number of private sites to which they may allow access to bird-watchers or the public at large ? we go there on sufferance.

Last year the BOC had a number of constructive meetings with Reading & District Angling Association to discuss their and our concerns. Amongst other things we discussed the clearance of scrub around parts of the Searles Lane GPs, which was needed for the health of the fish stocks, and possible mitigation measures for the resultant loss of some Nightingale habitat. We have also worked with the anglers on the planning of the new wetland reserve at Fobney Island. Bird-watchers and anglers have shared interests in protecting our natural environment ? let?s be friends!

Renton Righelato –

27 January 2012