Our line on aquatic conservation

Letter to the Editor
Published in Financial Times Weekend

Letter to the Editor
Published in Financial Times Weekend

Sir,

With reference to Richard Donkin’s article in the FT Weekend (August 5th/6th – Do Fish Feel Pain?). Common sense suggests that the sensory perception in fish is totally different from higher animals; a diet of spiny fishes and crustaceans, many with sharply edged shells and pincers, would make our human eyes water, whereas fish have evolved to feed avidly on sticklebacks, perch, crayfish and snails, without any harm befalling them.

Recent Environment Agency surveys have shown that 4 million people fish each year, contributing £3.5 billion into the economy, often in remote communities where this income is vital. Furthermore, fisheries management, largely paid for by anglers, has conserved our rivers and lakes for at least two centuries, and the angling lobby has saved many waterways from being little more than open sewers. How many animal rights’ organisations can boast such a record or, indeed, genuine interest in conserving the aquatic environment or its dependent species?

The Salmon & Trout Association’s policy is that the social and economic benefits derived from angling, together with the conservation of the aquatic environment that no other sector of society can equal, completely justifies the most popular participation sport in this country.

Paul Knight
Director,
Salmon & Trout Association

London EC4R 9EL