Who do you think you are kidding Dr Austin!
This News Story is with reference to the article in Angling Times on 9th February 2021, page 30, by Dr Kevin Austin, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment.
I find it hard to understand why Dr Austin says that he found it hard to read the criticism about the Environment Agency, Fisheries Enforcement Department, this has been going on since before the lockdown, but it certainly got a lot worse during the lockdown. The Environment Agency have failed miserably for a long time on the way that they have failed to attend scenes of fishery crime, there is no way that Dr Austin can defend them is totally disgraceful. I was indeed a Angling Trust, Voluntary Bailiff Service volunteer and I enjoyed it in the capacity of Area Coordinator for the county of Gloucestershire, before I left and started up Fishery Watch.
I indeed saw a lot of volunteers totally disheartened by the failures of the Environment Agency to respond to the calls for help, and many said that they were thinking a giving it up because of it in 2018 onwards, so this has been going on for a long time. The damage to angling that has been done over the years by the failures of the Environment Agency in my opinion must run into millions, they have not only failed the good volunteers of the Voluntary Bailiff Service, but they have in my opinion failed in there statutory duty of care to angling, after taking over £22M of us in Rod Licence Fees, I think they should be ashamed of their efforts.
Fishery Watch has obtained information from the Environment Agency, via a Freedom of Information request that we eventually obtained from them, after we informed them that if they did not supply the information we were going to take the matter up with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), we had the requested information within hours, considering we had been waiting weeks for the reply.
What came back was totally unacceptable when you consider the vast amount of money that we pay them, it must be enough for them, because they give millions of pounds of it to the Angling Trust for the VBS and The Fisheries Enforcement Support Service.
Fishery Watch has the greatest of respect for the volunteers of the VBS, it is such a shame that a lot of your work is wasted by the appauling track record of the Environment Agency. but obviously Dr Austin would have us believe otherwise, all I can say is that it is a good job that the police continued to work during this difficult period as poaching went through the roof, the police answered and responded to every call that Fishery Watch logged with them, the Environment Agency failed everytime.
To see the appauling information that was received from the Freedom of Information request made by Fishery Watch, simply CLICK HERE to see a copy of the Environments Agencies own response, perhaps people will then see why I believe Dr Austin is wrong.
Rely, Who do you think you are kidding Dr Austin, NOT US.