Griff Rhys Jones wades into battle with anglers

Author: Press Association

Followers of the pastime condemned the comments saying they had a right to
peace when they were at the riverside.

Jones, who is presenting a BBC series about British rivers in which he canoes
along hidden waterways, was encouraging people to enjoy greater access to
the water.

He initially upset anglers with comments in an interview for BBC Countryfile
magazine published this week. Jones stuck his oar in again today to clarify
his points.

“I was told rather rudely that fishermen were disturbed by canoes. The
point is that canoes disturb neither fish nor fishermen, and if a man gently
paddling a canoe down a river is a ‘disturbance’, then long live that
disturbance.

“In the article which has caused this apparent stir, I clearly say that
access should not be allowed on some areas of river – ‘we don’t want canoes
churning up the salmon beds of the Wye’.”

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of Angling Trust, had been upset by the initial
comments. He said: “We take great exception to Griff Rhys Jones’ calls
for canoeists to cause disturbance to anglers and to trespass.”

He added that fishermen contributed £3.5 billion annually towards the British
economy with 25 million pounds of that on licences. “They have a legal
right to go fishing in peace,” he added.

In the magazine interview Jones said: “I’ve met a lot of fisherman and
decided that we should disturb as many as possible. What we all need to
remember is that the river isn’t there for a few, but for the many. Rivers
have been a forgotten world for far too long.”

He added today: “I am a supporter of all angling associations and
thoroughly respect the rights of fishermen to peacefully fish on riverbanks,
but I am also a great supporter of canoeists and want to see as much access
to the rivers of England and Wales as is readily available in Scotland and
much of the rest of the world.”

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