"I haven’t been a fan of Griff Rhys Jones for a long while. Enjoyed him in Smith and Jones but since then haven’t quite appreciated his self-absorption and quite obviously cultivated eccentricity. However, live and let live. Until the canoe debate. Presuming Mr. Jones was quoted accurately in the press, his call for militant canoeist action against anglers was quite ridiculous. Can I make three points?
1. There are inconsiderate anglers and there are inconsiderate canoeists. That’s life and that’s our general public. I personally fish a lot on one of the most heavily canoed waters in the country, the River Wye, and I find 90 per cent of the canoeists are charming. 10 per cent are diabolically rude and inconsiderate. I guess that’s the same with angler ratios, too. So neither group can have the higher ground when it comes to model behaviour.
2. Canoeists don’t need to pay for a licence to enjoy their sport. Anglers do. The money that anglers pay goes towards enhancing waters as habitats for fish, plants, amphibians, waterfowl and water mammals. Waters desperately need money to sustain them. Anglers contribute and canoeists don’t.
3. Let’s take the River Wye. There, the major species like chub, barbel and roach spawn on shallow gravels through May and into early June. Anglers observe a closed season until the 16th June so as not to interfere with this process. Canoeists don’t. And it’s on the shallow gravels that most damage is done. Canoes ground, their occupants get out and stamp millions of eggs into oblivion.
Draw your own conclusions."