By Andy Loble, Training Officer
I recently headed along to Clapham Common to join up with the Environment Agencies Pete Grey (Fisheries Technical Officer) and Linley Hunter (Fisheries Officer) for the South East as well as Iain Boulton the Parks Project Officer (Communities & Education) for Lambeth Council Parks and Open Spaces.
Working with a couple of the Clapham Angling Preservation Society (CAPS) bailiffs we removed a length of fencing and structures from around the island of one of the ponds as well as creating refuge for fish fry using the old willow branches.
CAPS are in the midst of improving Clapham Commons fishing and developing not only the fish stocks but also the general biodiversity of the ponds. By looking at both aspects of the ponds the aim is to have a much more sustainable equilibrium between flora and fauna for all to enjoy.
Linley Hunter EA said “We have supported Lambeth Borough Council to develop a London Angling Teaching Zone at The Long Pond on Clapham Common. This aims to create a balanced mixed fishery for angling participation events. A stock assessment was also carried out on Eagle and Mount ponds, with the help of the self-managed fishing community, as well as anglers from surrounding boroughs. This can be used to inform future management of the ponds in Clapham Common.
Future plans are to improve the habitat of the ponds to create natural cover for the fish. This will include floating islands and planting the margins. Once these areas have established themselves further stocking of Roach, Bream, Tench and Perch can be considered. The stocking assessment will continue to be done each winter with our support.”
Due to the nature of the work Thames21 does we have found ourselves working very closely on a number of projects across the London Borough with the Environment Agency. They have been fabulous at supporting these projects and providing some valuable knowledge and technical expertise.
We are also in the process of working closely with Iain Boulton to enable a number of his bailiffs from CAPS to complete our training programmes. This training will enable them to run their own events to improve the local environment and help engage the local community. They will learn everything about running an event including logistics, the managing of people and groups, health and safety and risk assessments as well as having the opportunity to gain further recognise qualifications including ‘First Aid at Work’.
Iain said “Lambeth Council is a cooperative council, working with local residents and visitors so that they are actively involved in managing places like Clapham Common, and are taking decisions in how assets like the ponds on the Common are developed and used. As such we want the anglers using these ponds take the lead in looking after them so they are safe, sustainable and accessible as well as providing quality sport. Working with Thames21 and Get Hooked On Fishing will enable our anglers and the wider community to obtain those necessary skills and confidence to achieve this.”
The work on Clapham Common will continue to develop over the next few years. I already know that there are a number of angling participation projects being organised. These projects are being run by Get Hook on Fishing in a new partnership with Lambeth Council. For more information about this then please contact Grant Fear from the Angling Trust on 07969645201.
The future certainly looks bright for angling on Clapham Common.