Sunday March 9th 2014
New winds are blowing over Denmark, and not only the mild, south-westerlies of spring that are prevailing right now. No, yesterday I attended the opening of the Odense River and Odense Inlet on Fyn (the island of Funen right in the middle of Denmark).
Local forces have done a fantastic job, a healthy dose of lobbyism and countless of hours and the result is that netting privileges in the Odense Inlet have been greatly reduced. The Odense Inlet, where the Odense River runs out, is a secluded inlet, where large sea trout feed until they leave the inlet around May.
Previous, 1-3 professional net fishermen have been allowed to set kilometer after kilometer of nets, catching hundreds if not thousands of sea trout. Sea trout coming straight from the river, sea trout of which many are not even worth eating.
Local forces contacted politicians, local authorities, legislators, biologists, Danish Sports Angling Association and many others, and after 4 years of hard work, a new act regarding the rules of fishing on the Odense Inlet has now been issued.
The act greatly reduces netting in the inlet and this is a huge victory, and one that will hopefully reflect on other areas in Denmark.
The new act is a result of a new collaboration between sports anglers, net fisherman (not the professional ones), volunteers from the local river restoration teams, local authorities, tourism business and state politicians.
The way forward was not focusing on the well being of sea trout, but in fact pointing out to the authorities how much economy was lost in letting a few net fishermen catch thousands of sea trout. On Fyn, they have worked hard to create good fishing for set a trout, and marketed themselves as a good fishery, for almost 25 years. And surveys have proved that there are at least 28 full time jobs and 38 million DKK worth of shopping, hotels, rented cabins etc, in the fishing tourism on Funen.
Those numbers got the attention of the politicians. I wish that we would, and could, do good things for our rivers, and other parts of nature, for nature's sake alone, but the fact is, it's so much easier when there's good economy involved.
It'll be interesting to see if other local regions in Denmark will play the same ball - I hope so! On Funen, they're not even close to being done. They will continue. I spoke to some of the key persons yesterday - they're bubbling with ideas.
A big congratulations to the key persons in this: Claus Eriksen from Go Fishing in Odense, Lars Henriksen and Søren Knabe from River Restoration Funen and Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, state politician and many, many more.
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