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Zanders debate for anglers

PUBLISHED: 10:22 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 June 2010

Angling by Roy Webster



“We do not want zander in our beloved Norfolk Broads. They do not belong here.”

That was the stark warning from Caister pike angler John Goble, who heaved out the monster Esox of 45lb 8oz from the Thurne waters last year - a national river record.

Angling by Roy Webster

“We do not want zander in our beloved Norfolk Broads. They do not belong here.”

That was the stark warning from Caister pike angler John Goble, who heaved out the monster Esox of 45lb 8oz from the Thurne waters last year - a national river record.

He threw his considerable status behind the Ban the Zander lobby of local anglers who fear re-classification of the species from alien to indigenous could result in this predator being released into the Broads in the belief it would enhance the present fish stocks available to rod and line fishermen.

The controversy broke out when it was revealed by the government watchdog Natural England that zander were banned as alien in all waters in England and Wales. Thus, it remains unlawful to return alive any zander caught on rod and line.

This ruling outraged Fenland anglers, whose clubs depend on selling permits to local and visiting anglers who want to catch zander. They want Natural England and the Environment Agency to figure out ways to legalise zander and remove it from a long list of flora and fauna outlawed by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

“If Fenland anglers want to legitimise their zander that is their business, but I could not support any proposal to introduce them legally in our Broads,” insisted Goble. “What with summer boat traffic and autumn and winter salt tides, I believe our Broads pike that have not completely recovered from the effects of the fish killer algae disaster have enough to cope with. Another predator species in direct competition would not be acceptable or advisable. If I wanted a day zander fishing I would visit the Fens.”

That view was shared by the Norwich DAA, which controls the prolific tidal river reaches of the Bure at St Benets Abbey and the Thurne at Ludham. Chairman Tony Gibbons stated: “We have a healthy balance between predator and prey fish and there is no way we could ever accept zander in the Broads rivers we control.”

Broads pike angling guide John Watson, however, felt that zander would be an interesting species in the Broads when he commented on the only authenticated specimen of 6lb taken from the tidal River Yare.

By contrast, the local pike anglers' club has come out fighting against the whole idea of zander populating Broads fisheries.

Chairman Stephen Roberts said: “We would not welcome zander. It is an alien species and, even if it were re-classified as native, it would not alter our views. Zander in the Broads would simply put extra pressure on our two indigenous predators - pike and perch.”

The relentless winter weather curtailed fishing on many frozen still waters, and again fishery bosses cleared ice from their match waters to accommodate their patrons.

At the Burgh Castle fishery, the open event was won by Lee Arnold (Jolly Boys) with 22lb 3oz, the Mick Bunn (Sportsmans) 22lb 2oz and Peter Woods (Huntsman) 12lb 8oz.

Stalham fished its club lagoon, resulting in Robin Austrin 9lb 2oz, with C Timms and D Dearman both on 4lb 3oz.

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