Saturday, 14 April 2012

CEMEX Angling up for sale - time for a change of attitude

One of the more visible objectors to canoeing and kayaking on the River Kennet has put its fisheries up for sale.

In a statement dated 19 March 2012 CEMEX UK Operations Ltd said
"A difficult decision has been made to put CEMEX Angling up for sale. As part of the regular and on-going business reviews, we have decided that Angling is not core to our operations and in the current economic climate we have limited resources and capital to develop the business in the future."

CEMEX Angling claims to offer 90 venues for fishermen, including 20 stretches of river, and the Angling Trust are worried that these could now be lost to angling.  In a press release on the 5 April 2012 the AT National Campaigns Co-ordinator, Martin Salter added "it is important that we pull together, and if necessary pool resources, to see off any bids from organisations that would exclude angling as future activity on these iconic venues.”

This is a deeply ironic statement given CEMEX's attitude towards the exclusion of other river users on stretches of river where they own the fishing rights. 

As previously reported CEMEX has installed a number of signs along the riverine stretch of the River Kennet where it runs down from Southcote Weir proclaiming "NO CANOEISTS".

"Burghfield River", as CEMEX call the section at Southcote, is regarded by them as a Gold Venue, which means they restrict the membership and only allow two rods at a time here.  This is probably a good thing as the local wildlife already has to contend with enough angling debris on this beat, although to be fair to the fisherfolk, I'm sure they don't intentionally discard expensive tackle; poor riparian management of tree falls here doesn't make casting easy.

Always carry a safety knife when paddling.  Extremely useful when removing snagged tackle.  This line, feeder, hooks and maggots (which were quickly dispatched after getting home only to find they'd warmed up and started moving on the hooks) was removed from an overhanging branch on the CEMEX "Burghfield River" beat (you can just make out the back of their sign downstream on the right bank) in January 2012.

Hopefully the new owners of the fishing rights on this part of the River Kennet will take a more progressive stance on sharing the waterway for the benefit of all.