Lay fishermen up-in-arms over proposed cull of rainbow trout, carp and bass

A law designed to limit ‘invasive’ fish species like rainbow trout, carp and black bass, from Portugal’s lakes and rivers is whipping up bad feeling among the lay fishing fraternity.

Coming into effect in January, the law could affect up to a million enthusiasts who spend hours of harmless fun catching these species, writes Público.

There are even those who suggest a cull could spark a ‘plague of insects’.

Writing on Facebook, fishing enthusiast Carlos Fazenda says the law is not only badly thought out, it is unconstitutional as it could put at risk the livelihoods of “thousands who work directly or indirectly within the sector with enormous investments made by shops, importers, manufacturers, artisans and local tourism providers”.

The law has developed from a proposal by the ICNF (nature and forestry institute) to “combat species that are not natural in Portugal and which threaten native fish species”.

According to the proposal, rainbow trout, black bass and carp could be reduced to the ‘lowest possible levels’ by “lethal and non-lethal actions” which, says the institute, would not have negative effects on local ecosystems, nor on public health or the economy.

But Nuno Vereda of the Serra da Estrela fly-fishing association says the ICNF plan “shows a profound lack of knowledge of the reality of fishing in internal waters”.

Backing up Carlos Fazenda, he says that if invasive species are taken out of the picture, “I don’t know what would be the impact on the native species”.

Another ‘fly in the ointment’ are the competitions run by lay fishing associations, which rely heavily on black bass, he said.

With the PSD now aware of the wrangle, the government is to be asked whether it is aware of the “serious damage that could be caused to a growth industry and touristic activity”.

[email protected]