Help Save Welsh Rivers From Farm Pollution!!

cerivthomas

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You may or may not be aware that the Welsh Government is currently consulting on extending Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales. Fishtec/Airflo are helping spread the news.

Full details here: http://blog.fishtec.co.uk/help-save-welsh-rivers-from-farm-pollution

To help, all you need do is download a ready filled in word document from the Fishtec blog post, fill in the top with your details (individual or fishing club etc) and email it off to the Welsh government. Deadline to do this is 23rd December.

The more people/organisations such as fishing forum members that do this, the more chance of the law being changed so less slurry and farm waste gets into Welsh rivers.

Ultimately this will lead to better fishing for everyone who lives in or visits Wales.

Thanks for your help!
 

dgp

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Ceri
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Have seen the problem at first hand last winter with manure running off into a feeder stream to a prime fishng reservoir (which I reported to the EA) and increasing problems of algal blooms. - so we all need to support this initiative
 

Dunk

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Well done organising this. Great work. I'll try and get a few people to respond.
 

JayP

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I think this should also go in to the General Fly Fishing Forum too as it will get much more exposure :thumbs:
 

Dunk

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Just chatting to a friend who works for the EA in England, talking about cuts etc. They're losing a lot of good people through overstretching/overwork, and struggling to recruit replacements, but the one thing she was most concerned about was that ALL monitoring of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones had been cut. So in England there is zero monitoring going on. Zero! That, on top of other deep cuts, underfunding... not a pretty picture.

I wonder if the same thing has happened in Wales? Can anyone find out? The irony of extending the NVZ's without funding to monitor what is happening on the ground, beggars belief.

As a chilling aside, forget about the Water Framework Directive. Apparently it, along with other environmental protections, will be transferred into UK law, however there will not be any appetite or money to enforce it. So water quality will likely slowly slip, and we will be unable to do a thing about it.
 

ant77

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I'd 'like' your post, Dunk, but I really don't.

Some thoughts:

I'm almost completely glass half empty on this problem, however, having seen how community groups can achieve substantial in-roads in environmental matters whether there is money there or not, I hang on to potential alternatives. The truth is there is always money out there, whatever the political weather, but not always the will amongst the hugely fragmented angling communities to mobilise (for want of a better word) to access it and use it for the greater good of our waterways. For every cerivthomas or Dunk I'm pretty certain there are at least fifty put and takers who couldn't give a rat's ass.

I had high hopes for Angling Trust and Fish Legal and of course they do ok but they could, in theory, do far more if they had the requisite resources. S&TC apparently have friends in high places but seem to spend the majority of their efforts against the aquaculture industry - a lot more 'S' than 'T' in many respects. I didn't find their recent film about Loch Maree's sea trout demise remotely effective but I'm sure it cost a few quid.

To try and keep this short, the most effective way apparent to me is local community activism which seeks to enlist a far wider subscription than the odd angler who uses the river. The Wandle Trust is the most famous example. They had a quite deliberate and beneficial divorce from the anglers who began their cause (who are now known, as I'm sure you know, as The Wandle Piscators). They did that because they knew it would mean that folks who find fishing a cruel passtime would be more likely to get involved. It paid off. They have a good relationship with EA. In a sense it was Cameron's Big Society in action.

Here, unfortunately, is where my optimism almost ends. I appreciate that success stories in this regard largely come from urban areas rather than the far less populated rural domains where nitrates are a serious issue and where local community activism is likely to attract a far smaller although perhaps proportionate number of activists. But, disproportionately, there is only so much a handful of volunteers can do compared to, say, a couple of hundred. Research, writing to the MP, leafleting to raise awareness, recruiting new volunteers, managing social media, asking a few folks on an obscure forum to sign a petition etc etc, takes masses of time. That may be straightforward if you've an army of volunteers (think Rivers Trusts who, erm, are largely funded for a little while longer by, erm, Europe) but if you're a little group concerned about your river in the nether regions of the Lakes then it may be somewhat more difficult to carry out all those necessary functions.

The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) idea is a good one but I've yet to see it have any real influence across an entire catchment and I'd be very interested to hear of good examples. I've personally only witnessed quite poor strategies and elephant-in-the-room-avoiders which are issue-specific (eg migratory fish) rather than holistic (eg invasives). However the thinking is there if the will of the people isn't quite following it - and that's where the activists must try to make a difference. One: by realising and accepting they are local activists. Two: by going out there and educating and recruiting people, including the millions of fellow anglers who don't give a ****. Easier said than done, of course :)
 
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john young

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While it is 'admirable' it is just another special interest group, this time of anglers, backed by an angling commercial interest, pretending to be conservationists.

Were we not anglers it would about as meaningful to us as 'small typhoon in Chile, nobody hurt'.

Believe it or not, I am not being 'snide', just honest. And realistic.
 
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ant77

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Were we not anglers it would about as meaningful to us as 'small typhoon in Chile, nobody hurt'.

I agree. Hence those interested in rivers, largely anglers, must try to reach out and educate others. Bug sampling is a great way to get kids and their parents involved as are 'trout in the classroom' projects which may spark a lifetime's interest and passion for biology and ecology in the long term for some. But how polluters such as some agri-businesses (for example - I'm not farmer bashing per se) are tackled in the face of ever-decreasing statutory enforcement is a much greater problem for the now.
 

john young

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I agree. Hence those interested in rivers, largely anglers, must try to reach out and educate others. Bug sampling is a great way to get kids and their parents involved as are 'trout in the classroom' projects which may spark a lifetime's interest and passion for biology and ecology in the long term for some. But how polluters such as some agri-businesses (for example - I'm not farmer bashing per se) are tackled in the face of ever-decreasing statutory enforcement is a much greater problem for the now.
I'm just trying to put it in perspective.

Almost every day on here there is some 'anglers special interest group' banging on about something or another, usually salmon farming.

They are NOT conservationists, they represent ONLY their own 'hobby' interest. I'm not a supporter of farmers but these people will whinge along with everyone else if the cheap food runs out. We are PART of the problem, not separate from it.
 

taterdu

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I'm just trying to put it in perspective.

Almost every day on here there is some 'anglers special interest group' banging on about something or another, usually salmon farming.

They are NOT conservationists, they represent ONLY their own 'hobby' interest. I'm not a supporter of farmers but these people will whinge along with everyone else if the cheap food runs out. We are PART of the problem, not separate from it.

So, when half a million litres of slurry flood your area of the Test, you'll just shrug your shoulders and mutter a resigned, "Well . . . I am part of the problem," and walk away to investigate membership of the local Golf Club?
 

Dunk

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I actually agree we're part of the problem when it comes to global pollution, however the management of slurry is such a basic responsibility. This should not be happening, just as the numerous sheep dip pollution incidents should never happen, if the right practices are followed.

I take issue with the idea that anglers are not real conservationists. All conservationists have a favourite species or two that got them interested in wildlife and ecology in general. I have campaigned over numerous subjects, some fish related, many not - palm oil and the destruction of virgins rainforest for its production, 3rd world debt - you name it... I and many other anglers have been there. If we have a soft spot for river ecology (invertebrates, plants, birds and fish) then that's just like my acquaintance who is obsessed with ferns, or cousin who is a fanatic about butterflies. They also have a wide range of interests, but they do know a lot more about their specialist subject, and in this regard they add value to the area of conservation as a whole. We can all draw from these collective skills and knowledge.
 

john young

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I actually agree we're part of the problem when it comes to global pollution, however the management of slurry is such a basic responsibility. This should not be happening, just as the numerous sheep dip pollution incidents should never happen, if the right practices are followed.

I take issue with the idea that anglers are not real conservationists. All conservationists have a favourite species or two that got them interested in wildlife and ecology in general. I have campaigned over numerous subjects, some fish related, many not - palm oil and the destruction of virgins rainforest for its production, 3rd world debt - you name it... I and many other anglers have been there. If we have a soft spot for river ecology (invertebrates, plants, birds and fish) then that's just like my acquaintance who is obsessed with ferns, or cousin who is a fanatic about butterflies. They also have a wide range of interests, but they do know a lot more about their specialist subject, and in this regard they add value to the area of conservation as a whole. We can all draw from these collective skills and knowledge.
You do have a good point.

I'm interested in hawks and falcons and have next to zero interest in other birds.

But in a way, the difference with anglers is that we actually want to catch things. Whether that really matters I'm not sure. But it DOES sometimes lead to us altering the environment to suit ourselves.

See the southern chalkstreams. On one 'famous' (where Skues fished) place on the Itchen there has been serous differences between the trout fishermen and a large and genuine conservation group, resulting in the anglers losing their fishing rights.
 

john young

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So, when half a million litres of slurry flood your area of the Test, you'll just shrug your shoulders and mutter a resigned, "Well . . . I am part of the problem," and walk away to investigate membership of the local Golf Club?
Don't be silly.

See my post #12, a reply to Dunk's post #11, which is much more 'reasoned' than yours.
 

afonglyn

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If the EA is now becoming impotent due to cuts and staff reduction, perhaps we of the fly fishing fraternity should form our own organisation and deal with the problem on their behalf using name and shame tactics. It is an easy procedure to form a legal voluntary organisation and only anothre short step to become a registered charity. When you do that there are numerous charities that are hemorrhaging money and look for other charities to support with grants and donations, so money is out there. Government grants also exist as long as one has the infrastructure in the first place. Then there are lottery funds. So for a start up charity money is not an issue!

We all carry phones and in those we have digital cameras and video recorders. That makes us all video journalists. We see pollution, or abuse of our cherished river or waterway and we photograph it and film it. If we are lucky we find someone involved and either directly or covertly record their comments and those of others effected by the spill.

Those clips can be made into films. As a former documentary film maker this is not rocket science. All films require on lots of footage, most ends up on the floor or it did in the old days, but now its digital its even easier and as long as you have an idea what you are wanting to achieve you can make a good film on 1024p for peanuts.

Going back to the voluntary organisation / charity, if we want to do this, we can. We live all over the UK and we all have the Internet. So if 100 people come together on a forum like this all the setting up and writing the constitution can be done on Skype, Facetime or whatever, regardless of where committee members live.

If the 100 become 1000 or 10000 and it costs nowt to join we then have one of the largest news organisations in the UK. Everyone has to join the club, gets a membership 'card' and can then patrol their own patch, their local river, lake, still water whatever. They carry their phone and keep their eyes open. When an incident happens the member records the story and emails it in.

It is easy to establish a video channel on YouTube and Vimeo. We can then upload clips, films, photos etc onto those channels and name and shame those involved, farmers, oil companies, petrol companies, whoever, whatever, if they do it, we can show it and put it in their face. They all have web sites and the Internet is their often their image and if they have online farm shops their bread and butter. Show their customers what they are doing behind their backs and they will lose money and money talks.

We can whinge on about cuts and apathy towards a problem that effects us all, or we can grasp the nettle , wade in and sort this out. Power to the people!
 
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