It would appear the EA are taking a prosecution against a Council for paddling on the river Conwyn.
See the UKRGB Thread HERE
Hmmmm. In the States we are kept off certain stretches of river when certain bird species are nesting. I don't know of a case where spawning fish are given protection from paddlers..... In rivers with bears, fish must instinctively expect some disruption.
If "EA" could show objectively that boats passing overhead disturb spawning, they might have a case, but any restriction should apply only to active spawning periods.
What I've seen of salmon spawning on TV is that it's "dish out the dirt, flirt, and squirt" and then the salmon are pretty much done with it. It isn't like sticklebacks jealously guarding the egg deposit.
It would be interesting whether this was a 'local' decision or an EA Wales national decision. Perhaps enquiries should be made to the EA Wales Director ?
When previous 'maps' had been 'made available' they appeared to a local 'iniative'.
The EA themselve stated that canoesing does not disturb fish so they seem to be going against there own evidence.If "EA" could show objectively that boats passing overhead disturb spawning, they might have a case, but any restriction should apply only to active spawning periods.
There's a suggestion that the instructors were encouraging the kids to jump out of the boats and wade around on the gravel beds - although the source for this may be a bit fishy.
If this is the case, then a successful prosecution would still have no implication for using paddlecraft during spawning season provided water levels are sufficient to float above the gravel.
I don't think this goes against canoeing what so ever...if the EA asked people to be careful or avoid during spawning times on certain stretches of rivers and that advice / warning was ignored then they deserve to be taken to court as that was simply not responsible. That council could have arranged the trip for another river or and another time outside of spawning.
I don't see how the council have a leg to stand on and I don't see how that affects the access debate at all. Fishing has the same issue only it is more formal...you can't fish a river out of season.
What we have here is irresponsible people not heeding advice....and it could have happened to any walk of life and just happens to be canoeing / kayaking on this occasion.
If a rambler had walked in a nature reserve area and damaged a rare or dangered plant or just damaged something that was being protected it would result in the same case and wouldn't necessarily stop anyone else from enjoying that area.
When access is formalised properly there will be a closed season for some areas / rivers or made compulsory that you need to heed warnings and advice for certain areas anyway rather than a free for all at all times...I think that is only sensible and doesn't really affect canoeing because a) at that time of year not many people go canoeing and b) there are plenty of other places to go anyway c) we don't want to harm fish etc
Sea fisherman (commercial) have the same thing, wild game shooting has the same season to protect birds etc
No, this has nothing to do with access rights and doesnt damage them or change the future direction this is simply "some people doing wrong and being taken to court for it."
Or have I missed the point?
The SCA has some advice on preventing damage to spawning sites.
I really hope this case falls flat on its face, but lets not ignore or forget the fact that carelessness by any river user, including paddlers, can do damage.
Veni Vidi Natavi
2 Roe, spawning and unclean fish, etc.
(4)Subject to subsection (5) below, any person who, except in the exercise of a legal right to take materials from any waters, wilfully disturbs any spawn or spawning fish, or any bed, bank or shallow on which any spawn or spawning fish may be, shall be guilty of an offence.
(5)A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this section in respect of any act, if he does the act for the purpose of the artificial propagation of salmon, trout or freshwater fish or for some scientific purpose or for the purpose of the preservation or development of a private fishery and has obtained the previous permission in writing of the water authority [F2for the area].
" wilfully disturbs any spawn or spawning fish, or any bed, bank or shallow on which any spawn or spawning fish may be, shall be guilty of an offence." and unless "obtained the previous permission in writing of the water authority"
Ignorance is very rarely a defence. It is stated that Canoeing doesn't damage fish but also stated in various places (like Canoe England, EA etc) that if you are in an area where fish spawn and in that season and if the water is shallow then you should avoid that area and or be responsible and sensitive to the issue. It also is stated that it means you should consider the draft of your boat and whether the paddles will touch or come close to the river bed.
I guess you are wilfully disturbing a spawning area if you know the above, and possibly irresponsible if you do not know that. They appear to be taken to court for "Wilfully" disturbing.
If they only passed over the spawning area, and the depth was not shallow then the council shouldn't be found guilty but if they were, and reports suggest such, jumping in the water or were touching the river bed with paddles and or shallow etc, then I think they should be found guilty.
Either way the charge doesn't appear to be "using a canoe" on the spawning grounds, more a case of "wilfully disturbing" the spawning grounds...two different things I believe.
Anyway, a good talking point none the less
Last edited by andylincs; 6th-June-2011 at 10:48 AM. Reason: added "and or shallow"
It is one of those weird situations. BBC countryfile file crew and the salmon people can go wade through areas, net fish, artificially deflower them (get the eggs) and it is conservation, paddling responsibly at the correct water conditions (not talking about this case) and you get accused of disturbing reds.
The fisher folk in our area wanted a blanket ban from during spawning season but another club wanted paddlers banned the other times as well. You can't win.
Untill there is responsible access like in Scotland we will be stuck with this situation.
Last edited by Quicky; 6th-June-2011 at 12:23 PM. Reason: spulling Mistooks!
It would be interesting to show the EA and coventry council the new waterside access video for Wales. The way the video talks about not wading in water and disturbing fish whilst the video shows a fisherman wading in water and disturbing fish....
...and yes I think I was aware of the sub-text, or was made aware but as this is a legal issue any actual outcome of this case can only be upon the people being taken to court and not have wider immediate implications....although the out come could be used as part of their ongoing agenda....what I mean by that is that if an Ice cream van gets done for speeding it won't have implications for other ice cream vans only the bloke doing the speeding because the issue was speed not the ice cream salesman or his type of vehicle although an anti-ice cream group could use it to show that ice cream sellers are bad drivers and need limiting....if you see what I mean
...has anyone ever linked speeding ice cream vans with canoeing and access rights before or am I a trail blazer ?
I wish someone would take me to court for paddling on the River Wensum; I've been trying to provoke a court injunction for over two years, ever since I was assaulted by some local barbel fishermen :
So far, didly squat.
Never mind, while they've been dithering, I've been taking legal action against the EA for stuffing an environmentally sensitive SAC river full of non native fish (barbel).
Latest position is that the European Commission are considering infringement proceedings against the UK Government
Last edited by sobranie; 3rd-August-2011 at 11:38 AM.
I think perhaps you need organise a protest paddle and get enough paddlers there to annoy the Angling Assoc. Go up and down it all day with a dozen people or so. I shall look on a map to see where it is.
 Point being that if they see you, see 12 people, and take no action when you do it all day they have demonstrated that it is OK (otherwise they would prosecute) for others to paddle. They demonstrate that their "no canoeing" signs are worthless
Depends on the situation. It would be a shame to cock things up by ending up with an aggravated/conspiracy to trespass charge!I think perhaps you need organise a protest paddle and get enough paddlers there to annoy the Angling Assoc. Go up and down it all day with a dozen people or so. I shall look on a map to see where it is.
If you'd like to do a protest paddle, then I'll try and drum up a bit of support locally. However personally, I think I'd rather concentrate on trying to get further artificial barbel introductions banned. That way the barbel will naturally die out creating a permanent, sustainable solution, with the added bonus that it will embarrass the Government and the Environment Agency and annoy the hell out of the barbel fishermen.
This is the most contentious stretch : http://norfolkanglers.co.uk/naca-gen...hams-news.html. There have also been problems at Lyng Mill.
I am intrigued by some of the detail in the link - "Under Riffle Remedial Work" there is a reference to " .... the ‘filling in’ of the boat channel.....". Later on under "Canoeing" it says " If a stretch of river is non-tidal and non-navigable, as ours is, boat/canoe users require the permission of both riparian owners." It's quite a simple point really - If boats produced a boat channel doesn't this indicate that the river was/is navigable and therefore doesn't require permission from the riparian owners?
Last edited by KeithD; 4th-August-2011 at 03:38 PM. Reason: quotes
Scroll down: Norfolk Anglers Conservation Assoc - shooting Cormonants so the get better catches of introduced fish and also moan that they can not do anything about the increase in otter numbers.
Maybe this needs pointing out locally.
Of course you are partially correct in that most of the work which the EA has undertaken under the Wensum Restoration Strategy has been reversing centuries of channel widening / straightening. And why has the river undergone centuries of channel of widening / straightening? Navigation of course. As Revd Caffyn would no doubt confirm, people have been happily navigating the river for centuries.
I take your point that annoying and embarrassing people is a regrettable outcome, but quite frankly, given what the angling club and the EA have been doing down there, and given the Governments refusal to intervene and diffuse the situation, I feel not one jot of sympathy or regret for any of them. I agree that the whole bitter dispute is regrettable, but they've created this situation with our money, and have then consistently refused to acknowledge that they've done anything wrong.
As a result they've ended up with claim against them lodged with the European Commission.
The other point is that as you well know, the Government currently has absolutely no intention of properly addressing the issue of navigation rights because they don't wish to risk upsetting angling and landowner lobby groups. It seems to me therefore that the only way of compelling the Government to address the issue is if they are forced into action by the European Commission. As you can imagine, Governments don't like being forced to do anything, but they've only got themselves to blame.
Unfortunately, abuse, vadalism, mis-information is just the start of what we have to put up with to enjoy a peaceful recreational activity.
Some of the clean rivers campaigns like the 'our rivers' ones are a laugh too. Sponsored by some fishing groups they talk about saving and preserving animal species whilst the same organisations on there own sites talk about killing the same animals as they eat fish....
You cannot win.....
Has any body got any information on this case, has a court date been set ? is it still an issue ? Answers please.
So, a 2 day trial in November, as far as we know, thank's for that John.