Pictured (l-r): Nigel Shelton – Natural England, Dr Johnathon Newman – CEH, Jake Davoile – Angling Trust, Neil Winter – EA, Andrew Ellis – AE Fisheries, Robert Packham – CEFAS, Viv Shears – Sparsholt College, Chris Williams – EA Brampton, Neil Lewin – EA Brampton.

We recently played host to fish experts from around the UK at the ninth annual Coarse Fish Meeting where the many issues impacting on fishery businesses and the industry both locally and nationally were considered. Coarse fishery managers and farmers, fish health specialists, fishery consultants, angling clubs and their members, equipment suppliers, the Environment Agency, CEFAS and government agencies attended the event which had been organised by Aquatic Consultancy Services and the College’s Fishery Studies Faculty.

The number of guest speakers trained by Sparsholt is indicative of the pedigree of students our Fishery department produces. Nearly 80 delegates attended to hear CEFAS’s Rob Packham (BSc graduate) give an Aquatic Animal Health Update; Chris Williams and Neil Lewin (BSc graduate) from The Environment Agency gave a Brampton Fish Health Update, what they do and what’s new; The Environment Agency’s Adrian Saunders (Diploma graduate) presented on The Fisheries Enforcement Campaign; and Supplementary Feeding and Fishery Management was the theme of former National Diploma student Andrew Ellis’ (AE Fisheries) presentation.

One of the many highlights of the event saw Nigel Shelton (Natural England) and Jake Davoile (Fishery Management Advisor, Angling Trust) inform the gathering of the outcomes from the Fish Eating Birds Policy Review. This detailed the current situation with fish eating birds and how a catchment based management plan is to be introduced. Jake went on to inform the meeting of his role as one of the three full time Fishery Management Advisors employed through funding given to the Angling Trust as an outcome of this review.

Viv Shears, Event organiser and Sparsholt Fishery Studies Lecturer said: “We are celebrating our centenary of moving to the current campus at Sparsholt College this year and it was an honour to see so many of our former students present in their capacity as leading experts in the fisheries and conservation field. All of us as Sparsholt graduates are extremely proud of our links with the College which has been providing fish courses since 1973. The meeting is an important event in the Coarse Fish calendar during which the industry shares best practice and is updated of the issues affecting those working with fish.”

Many of the attendees enjoyed a first class social evening before the main meeting and a fine BBQ was sponsored by Skretting, the country’s leading Fish Food manufacturer. While at Sparsholt delegates also had the opportunity to look around our top class Fish facilities which include the National Aquatics Centre, the recently opened Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre and the College Coarse Fishery.

Find out more about our Fisheries and Aquatics courses