Canal zander removed by authorities could be rehomed – not killed

THE controversy surrounding zander being killed on our canals could have a happy solution, Angler’s Mail can reveal.

Canal zander could get new homes instead of being killed in official ongoing removal exercises.

Canal & River Trust fisheries manager John Ellis had thought that only one English fishery could take canal zander.

That venue was Bury Hill, in Surrey, but they only desire specimen fish.

John has to organise their removal of canal zander each year, as they are a non-native species. The predators removed and killed have been going to Billingsgate Market in London for food.

However, Angler’s Mail found out last week that the Environment Agency has 23 fisheries in the country licensed to hold zander.

‘Preferred option not to kill’

John said: “Absolutely 100 per cent yes, it’s our preferred option not to kill them, but nobody has ever come forward, save for Bury Hill, in Surrey, and that was subject to final fulfilment of a KIFR permit condition around enhanced screening.

“The EA cannot send us the information about fisheries with permits for zander, I envisage, due to data protection considerations, but we look forward to hearing from any fishery owner in a legal position to be able to accept zander.”

Canal zander solutions

Top predator hunter, fishery and tackle shop owner Neville Fickling, who is secretary of the Zander Anglers Club, commented: “If we ever thought about relocation it was a long time ago.

“ZAC policy is to try not to remove them.

“We are going to have to look into what waters might be able to take them.

“At present, Mark Powell Bevan is fighting our corner on the canals, and protest and zander cull-free zones is the policy. I’ll talk with him about relocation,” Nev added.

Moving better than killing

Zander angler Joanna Davies, of the Polish Lure Fishing Club, helped organise protests about canal zander being killed.

Joanna said: “Moving zander alive is better than killing them, but in terms of controlling the numbers it is still pointless.

“I am a biologist, and think it’s best to leave them alone, best for controlling numbers and cheapest. From the angling point of view: create more zander venues and move them there.

“The idea of rehoming is not new, and as far as I know the CRT response some time ago was that there are not many venues that have a zander licence, and the ones that have don’t want them and don’t want to pay for getting them, but I’m not sure how true these are.

“Anglian Waters such as Grafham and Rutland apparently don’t want them, as they are mainly trout fisheries, so they don’t want any stuff from canals, for bio-security reasons.

“This is a difficult one also, as the cost of moving them is involved, so it needs venues that would be interested to stock them.”

Anglers stood united in protest against the killing of canal zander.

Joanna continued: “I know of only a few lakes, such as Ferry Meadows, in Cambridgeshire, or Wyboston Lake, in Bedfordshire, that are connected to rivers, so I doubt they’ve got a licence, but they have got zander. I wonder about the Fens?

“Catfish are moved to commercials. If they will be interested in stocking zander, that will be great, though I’ve heard that getting a licence is almost impossible.

“Also, it is lots to organise, but obviously if we find a way for CRT to have the money to move zander without killing them, that would solve the problem,” Joanna concluded.

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