Rules on eels may confuse anglers

Roy Webster’s Angling

The new law to protect the endangered European eel appears to have led to great confusion over what may or may not be done with these wrigglers caught by accident or design on rod and line.

This is the up-to-date bylaw imposed by the Environment Agency following new European eel regulations.

This prohibits the removal of any eel from the water caught on rod and line, and this restriction applies not only to fresh water but also the brackish estuaries, all along the coast line and to boat fishing within six nautical miles of British jurestriction.

There is a special dispensation for angling competitions staged on salt or fresh water venues that allows eels to be retained alive in a canister of water, weighed or measured then returned to their natural habitat immediately.

Under no circumstances may any of these fish be retained by the captor and taken home.

This confirmation for anglers came in correspondence from the Environment Agency to sea league and open event organiser Tony Thomas who said: “I understand that an official of Eastern Sea Fisheries Protection has said that eels are not eligible for weighing at beach matches, but this is incorrect. I have it in black and white from the EA that eels maybe retained in water and returned immediately after weighing. We are happy with that arrangement.”

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In a consultation document leading up to the new legislation the EA stated that eel stocks had suffered a severe decline over the whole of Europe. The document added “Given that relatively few eels are taken by anglers we think a complete ban on anglers taking eels away is justified.”

Right now eels are far from the minds of local beach anglers because the whiting and cod season has arrived.

Legions of whiting along with a few codling above the 36cm size limit are encouraging beach anglers, especially those keen on putting a telling catches on the scales at the end of the Mark Alsop memorial charity match.

This is staged on the Yarmouth North and Central beaches this Sunday, the head quarters is the Lacons Arms in Alderson Road, the draw is from 8.30am, fishing is from 10am to 3pm and the cost of entry is �10. Bookings to John Abbott on 07773 389121.

Match angling results. Potter Heigham Sea Anglers, Yarmouth South: G Hewitt 3-2, S Watson (Junior) 2-3, C Bell 0-13.

Burgh Castle Open: L Arnold 19-7, P Woods 16-5, D Greenwood 15-9.

Stalham, Boatyards: M Charlewood 14-2, B Wade 11-10, D Jones 10-14.

Carols, Melton Ponds: A Waldron 65-8, A Dyball 14-12, P Barnard 11-0.

Freshwater fixtures. Marsh Trail lakes Open, Saturday, October 16 Lake C. Draw 9am, fish 10am to 4pm, �15. per head all-in fee. Optional gold/silver pegs standing at �200, for booking/details contact Richard on 07796 437381 or 01502 514682.

North Cove and Barnby AC Claude Larkin Memorial Open, Sunday, October 17. Draw pegs at 9am, fish 10.30am to 3.30pm, this 40 peg annual event will be fished on the river Waveney at North Cove �10 per head all in fee, for details and booking contact Richard on 07796 437381.

Freshwater results. Marsh Trail Lakes Open Lake A: 1 Keith Westgate 24lb 6oz, 2 John Catchpole 22lb 8oz, 3 Colin Davey 14lb 10oz.