Broken society is to blame not anglers

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Anglers are not the problem society as a whole is broken…

Anglers cannot be blamed for all the world’s ills as they only reflect the general malaise of the population. We live in a throw-away world where people will strive to gain as much as possible from doing as little as possible.

The argument made against anglers by Paul License last week was simplistic and flawed.

Anglers did not leave the litter by the waterside, broken people with no sense of social responsibly that just happen to go fishing left the litter and my point can be easily proven by taking a quick walk through either the city centre of Sheffield or the leafy suburbs… you will find that you are never more than 20ft from litter.

Take a look over the Five Weirs Walk on the Wicker, a beautiful waterside environment that all Sheffielders should be proud of that is ruined by litter… and not fishing litter either but fast food wrappings and spent hypodermic needles.

Go further down river to where the treated water enters the river and you will not only have the fast food wrapping and the syringes but now you will also find a different type of litter – toilet paper, sanitary towels and spent condoms.

Obviously all these items bypassed the sewage treatment works’ screening equipment. These items are the sole responsibility of the water companies but they have for many years ploughed profits into the shareholders’ pockets rather than improving facilities.

As for his argument about cormorants and other creatures that may compete with the angler for the attentions of fish I believe he needs to do some serious homework.

Cormorants have not moved inland because of the proliferation of commercial fisheries, they have migrated as a result of our coastal waterways either being polluted to the point of them not being viable environments or as a result of them being raped of their stocks of ‘fodder fish’.

Otters were not forced by anglers to near extinction but by poisons used in excess and habitat taken by man for short-term personal gain.

Unfortunately, now that the otter has been reintroduced into the wild the rivers are for the most part so damaged by human interference they are no longer able to support another predator and mink and otter are now in open warfare for territory.

The application for permission to cull is not something unique to anglers. In 2003 the British Government was lobbied by the RSPB into stating that the entire population of ruddy ducks would be eliminated to save the Spanish population of the endangered white-headed ducks from the threat of hybridisation.

So it is OK for the RSPB and other birdwatcher fraternities to state that an entire species has to be eradicated but it is not OK for anglers to apply to control other species of creature that are threatening entire eco-systems?

I would say that both parties are wrong, however we live in a world that has been ruined by the interference of mankind therefore we may need to manage certain aspects of our biodiversity otherwise we could end up with some unforeseen and devastating conclusions.

The future of our beautiful country is the responsibility of everyone, for better or worse it will not be down to the actions of any one group of people.

We will all need to change.

LS, proud Sheffielder, angler and environmentalist