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Anglers fear ban on 'cruel' live bait will spread

Guest NYOutdoors

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Guest NYOutdoors
Anglers are to be banned from using live fish as bait after politicians decided it was cruel.

The ban, which will apply in Scotland, has angered fishermen south of the border who believe it has handed a major victory to animal rights campaigners calling for similar legislation in the rest of Britain.

Steve Greenway, a leading angler from Staffordshire who has been on 105 fishing trips to Scotland, said: "If I thought live bait was cruel, I wouldn't use it. Where will it all end? Do you stop using maggots and worms as well?"


Mark Barrett, the general secretary of the Pike Anglers' Club of Great Britain, said: "To have the law change like this on your doorstep is going to be a concern for people in the rest of the UK."

The blanket ban was a last-minute amendment to the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, which has just passed through the Scottish Parliament without any objections.

It has already been strongly endorsed by Scotland's deputy environment minister Rhona Brankin and will pass through the legislature for a final time in the next three months before becoming law.

Green Party MSP Eleanor Scott, who is deputy convenor of the environment and rural affairs development committee and an architect of the Bill, said: "Anglers won't like me saying it, but fish do feel pain and we felt there was a cruelty issue here."

The politicians also believe live bait threatens fish stocks by introducing alien species into their habitats which may bring diseases and parasites.

Putting live small fish such as roach on a hook is a common tactic for catching larger, predatory fish like trout, perch and pike, which are drawn to the movement.

The coarse fishing industry contributes up to £7 million a year to the Scottish economy. Ron Woods, a policy officer from the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling, said: "This will hurt fishing tourism."

But Yvonne Taylor, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the ban was a "massive first step" in the group's fight for one in the rest of Britain.

Angling is the nation's most popular participation sport, with an estimated four million devotees. In recent years their hobby has been increasingly targeted by animal rights activists. Last summer saw a spate of attacks on fishermen.

Scientists are divided on the issue of whether fish can feel pain.


This is just great. You know they're gonna try to get this here in the US. I don't know what the law-makers were thinking when they made this law. To be quite honest, the stuff we use as live bait - minnows, worms, grub, etc. - serve no other purpose on this Earth other than bait.


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They have also all but banned hunting in many European countries, just another reason for all sportsman (hunters, trappers, AND Fishermen) to stick tight.

As for some "things" being destined for bait... They may be prey, but whether they were created to be hooked is debatable.

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I don't disagree with Evil-I's position. While believing whole heartedly in conservation and treating everything humanely (sp), even when it involves killing the animal, the fact is that there are a whole lot of people out there that don't hunt, trap or fish and don't see why we need to. Groups like Pita feed off ignorance and emotion. They are also able to capture quotes made by non-thinking sportsman that although not intended, sound harsh and cruel. This is where we need to wise up! I grew up as a fur trapper, and trust me, fishermen haven't felt the heat the way trappers have. Sad part is, alot of gun and fishing groups turned their backs while we took a beating, well now its coming around to fishing. Thats why I say, we as sportsman have to stick together, or they will pick us apart.

One scientific point made in the article that is hard to argue with is the introducing of exotics to lakes through escaped bait. There is some truth to that.

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