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Thread: Hugh Miles Appointment as Angling Trust Ambassador

  1. #1

    Default Hugh Miles Appointment as Angling Trust Ambassador

    Most will be aware of the recent appointment of wildlife photographer Hugh Miles as an Ambassador to the Angling Trust.

    What is not so well known, is that in May 2009 he collaborated with the Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association to film barbel spawning on the Wensum for BBC Springwatch.

    As soon as I saw the broadcast, in which barbel (a non-native artificially stocked species in the Wensum) were described as "the star of the Wensum", I knew something was amiss. So I wrote the executive producer of Springwatch, Tim Scoones, to complain about the misleading protrayal of the rivers ecology which had been presented to the public.

    Mr Scoones promptly replied denying my assertions of bias, stating that "I would just like to put on record that in no way have we been "no doubt lobbied by the Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association". We have had no contact with this group, and strive to keep our coverage as balanced and impartial as possible, in line with the BBC's public service remit. I would therefore take this opportunity to refute this assertion entirely."

    OK, I thought, that seems fairly unoquivical. Except that I then obtained copies of minutes of Wensum Fisheries Action Plan Group meetings, which revealed that a long running campaign had been orchistrated by the Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association to promote the Wensum as a barbel fishery by collaborating with the BBC Springwatch team.

    The Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association then proceeded to publish a magazine article written by Hugh Miles in which he describes collaborating with NACA in order to film barbel spawning for Springwatch.

    So much for Mr Scoones denials of bias! However the most damning aspect of this saga, is the following passage which Hugh Miles included in his article :

    "By mid afternoon the barbels passion had subsided a little, just before they all fled in terrified panic. No, not an otter, but canoes, fifteen of them filling the pool. Luckily Stephen Harper was there to plead with them not to pass over the riffles, while I shouted at them with incandesscent rage, not because my filming was screwed but because they were trespassing on the river during the most sensitive weekend of the year. As I vehemently pointed out to them, passing over shallow riffles was like walking over a bed of blue-tits eggs, and although they lied about having permission from the Landowners, they also expressed their complete ignorance that it was the fish spawning season. But surely they know that ducks, moorhens, kingfishers and all the other wildlife they had disturbed on the trespass down-river had dependent young at this time of the year? It makes me mad just thinking about it, let alone trying to reason with them.

    I'm sure NACA have tried, but canoeists certainly need educating and maybe a voluntary scheme in which they are allowed access to the river at less critical times of year might be a way forward. But at present the country seems to be descending into anarchy, where people do what the hell they like regardless of the laws of the land."

    To my mind, this a clear, published admission by Hugh Miles himself that he deliberately committed a criminal offence by verbally assaulting a group of canoeists during the closed fishing season. Surely this makes him an unfit person the act as Ambassador of the Angling Trust?

    I'm in the process of writing to the Angling Trust about this (again), but I will probably end up getting ignored (again). The Angling Trust seem to be in the habit of routinely ignoring anything which they regard as inconvenient.

    Perhaps this is something that Canoe England or the Rivers Access Campaign might also like to get their teeth into. I'd be happy to forward copies of the offending magazine article / correspondence to anyone who's interested.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    This sounds like something the Waterways Team at Canoe England should be taking up on your behalf.

  3. #3


    Canoe England are well aware of this case (Kevin East - Regional Director of Canoe England was sent all of this information some time ago), and I've got an unresolved complaint lodged with both the BBC Trust and my MP. But of course what has recently given it new impetus is Hugh Miles appointment as an Ambassador of the Angling Trust. As a lifelong angler, I vehemently object to this appointment and would like to see him removed from office forthwith.

    With the greatest respect to Canoe England, I doubt they are sufficiently ruthless to satisfy my wishes in this regard. Hopefully they will prove me wrong, I guess we shall see ...

  4. #4


    The Anglers Trust campaign passionately on behalf of what they perceive to be the interests of their members. I admire them for this, without approving of the tactics they sometimes employ We canoeists have no equivalent body acting on our behalf.

    The BCU will never take on this role. They are a body, financed in the main, by the government, to supervise and encourage canoe sport. The best thing they could do, is to explain this simply and clearly to their members, so we could forget about them as a force in the Access Campaign.

    I believe that part of the Anglers Trust passion is driven by the knowledge that their claim to control navigation on England's and Wales' rivers is cannot be justified on any grounds, practical, legal or moral. They know they are deeply in the wrong. They know that the idea of negotiated 'voluntary access agreements' is a complete joke. They fear that canoeists and swimmers will shortly realize that the Emperor has No Clothes and will simply start paddling and swimming where they wish. I think we are seeing more and more signs that, thanks to the amazing ease with which communication takes place on the Social Networks, the day they fear is close at hand. What are they going to do when canoeists start to appear everywhere on 'their' rivers. Are they going to sue everyone in the civil courts for non-existent damages?

    Given they read this web site, assiduously, a response from them would be interesting. Be assured, they are far to smart to give one.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father

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    PS, just in case anyone tries to level the accusation of naming others whilst hiding behind a pseudonim, my real name is Andy Youngs, and I am happy to disclose contact information to anyone who messages me in good faith.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Given they read this web site, assiduously, a response from them would be interesting. Be assured, they are far to smart to give one.
    Interesting point about their reluctance to engage in debate Doug. I recently reported on a different thread that I had been banned from the 'Fishing Magic' forum for referring to Angling Trust policy towards navigation rights as fascism. In the same thread, I objected to the appointment of Martin Salter to the Angling Trust on the grounds that he had the opportunity to sort all this out a few years, but he instead chose to side with the fascists.

    So Martin Salter then came on the forum and challenged me to a public debate.

    I accepted.

    And then they banned me from the forum.

    I've since briefly corresponded directly with Mr Salter, who has gone quiet on me since I informed him that I did not regard the next Angling Trust Eastern Area AGM to be a suitable forum for a public debate of this nature.

    Interesting reaction, and vindication I think, of my original accusation of FASCISM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Where the Maker said 'that'll do': Northumberland.


    fish will spawn with or without interuption from canoeist.... I fish and find the attitude of the angling fraternity, well the 'powers that be' some what hypocritical... if you want to conserve fish. don't fish.

  8. #8


    barbel wouldn't spawn in the Wensum at all if the river wasn't artificially stocked in the first place

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default P,f,l,o,p

    Quote Originally Posted by sobranie View Post
    barbel wouldn't spawn in the Wensum at all if the river wasn't artificially stocked in the first place
    My understanding is that the barbel are very reluctant to breed in the Wensum since they were first put in the river in the

    1950s,the river has been restocked several times since then,mostly funded by the tax payers,through grants,the last time

    the fisheries people were told 'this is your last grant for this project'.

  10. #10


    I think your understanding is correct Hyperion. The Wensum was first stocked with small numbers of barbel in the late 1950's, and thereafter throughout the 1960's and early 1970's.

    Legal stocking of barbel ceased for a period in the mid to late 1970's and throughout the 1980's, until the population dwindled to the point where it became untennable. Then stocking resumed, and continued intensively throught the 1990's. It ceased again in 2001, and this was when Natural England gave their ultimatum that this should be the culmination of the stocking programme.

    Most recently, 1,000 fish were stocked in 2009, a further 1,000 in 2010, and I understand that a further 1,000 were stocked in Dec 2011. All at taxpayers expense and in defiance of the Natural England ruling of 2001.

    I've already provided documentary evidence for these facts to a range of interested bodies, but if anyone else would like visibility of the proof then you only need to ask ... just pm me ....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Western Lake District


    Fishing / canoeing - the ago old debate. So when I was growing up & canoeing on the local river, my Dad (Secretary of the Angling Association) & I had many discussions which pretty muxh ended the same way - canoeists / other water users can do little damage or effect to the ecosystem if they are aware & considerate.

    That's it - aware & considerate.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  12. #12


    With respect MaxiP, I would suggest that death is natures way of telling you to stop.

    I've been quoting this one recently. It's by Kipling, who's son was killed in the trenches of the first world war. I hope I'm not desecrating anyones memory, but Kipling was also a great barbel fisherman and a statesman. And he said this "if any question why they died, tell them that their father's lied"
    Last edited by sobranie; 29th-March-2012 at 12:24 AM.

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