SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

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Paul Stewart
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SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Paul Stewart »

fishguard wrote(in another thread):
I thought now would be a good time to go through SAFFA 1975 with you as Paddlers seem to think it is not clear in what is says, so is not relevant nor does it effect them.

SAFFA 1975 - Part 1,section2,subsection 4, of the 1975 Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act. any person "Who wilfully disturbs any spawn or spawning fish, or any bed ,bank or shallow on which any spawning fish maybe",is guilty of an offence. Therefore as the spawning season stretches from the 8th October to the following 15th June, (this includes Salmonids and coarse fish) dependant on rivers, there is only a short period in the year when paddling on the river you would not be committing a criminal act.

Also within the same act , under part 2, section 12, subsection 3, any person (a) "does any act for the purpose of preventing Salmon or Trout from passing through a fish pass(waterfalls included)", or (b) "uses any contrivance or does any act whereby Salmon or Trout may be scared, deterred, or in any way prevented from freely entering and passing up and down a free gap at all periods of the year", is also guilty of an offence. This again would make paddling virtually impossible on small rivers without breaking the law, at any time of the year.

So RichA and all Paddlers this legislation was not drawn up by Anglers, and is nothing personal against you! it is the law, and ignorance is no defence to breaking it.
So what's changed in the last 34 years? Why is this now more relevant (could it be that finally anglers are realiasing that they cannot hide behind riparian ownership as they can no longer prove navigation rights exist to the owner?), is it because it's the only way to scare paddlers off our rivers to keep them for a few? How many paddlers have been charged and prosecuted under this Act? All paddlers should keep off the area of water when its a scrape down over the gravel beds to protect the Redds, agreed. Trying to keep all paddlers off rivers under this Act from October to June is irrelevant to most conditions. Do wading fisherman not cause as much risk? Paddlers don't paddle with the intention of stopping migratory salmon, and many of us will tell you that we don't, we've all paddled next to them jumping up river at some point.


Stop the scaremongering Fishguard, education to protect redds - yes, scaremongering for your own benefit - no. What's needed is clearer web information and river level guides so that all river users are aware of the redds locations and what levels would be detrimental to them.
Paul

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Dunc
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Dunc »

Surely the existence of this:

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... d-angling/

Shows that paddling over spawning grounds is not infact damage of spawning grounds.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by GoldTopo »

When someone quotes legislation, it's nice to see it without their own interpretation seamlessly edited in.
A couple more points:
Access problems almost entirely arise on salmon fishing rivers.
Rivers don't have salmon passing up & down them all the time.
Wilfully disturbing goes a lot further than accidentally disturbing.
The EA have just installed a combined fish & canoe pass on the Medway (I didn't even know there were salmon in the river).
The EA presumably consider it OK for fish (if any) to use the same channel as canoes.
How could that be interpreted differently on a natural feature?

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Chris Bolton »

If passing over the water covering the river bed, with no intention of affecting the fish, were to count as wilfully disturbing them or preventing their passage upstream, would deliberately pulling them out of the water with a hook not be considered a more serious violation?

If paddling were illegal under the Act, fishing would be too.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by quicky »

The same wilful damage is for everyone…anglers included.. now where is that picture of Martin Salter wading in a shallow river?

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Debaser »

It's been said before, I'll say it again. Where exactly are the reams of reports outlining, in painfully exacting detail, paddlers deliterious effects on fisheries?

No? Can't put your hands on them?

I've managed to find two. The (in)famous W266 and a US study that decided canoes and kayaks should be lumped in with motor vessels (including, from memory, jetskis...certainly motorised 'personal water craft' of some description).

Given the EA's apparent role as guardians of the nations fisheries, if they have been otherwise unconcerned up to press, then either they have been negligent in their duties in not commissioning exhaustive studies, or there is no measureable problem and any such studies would be a waste of £££s.

Now, which could it be?
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Simon Westgarth »

In my Undergraduate project, I researched this act, and there had been at that time, one criminal case that took their ruling from the SAFFA Act, and it was when someone had removed gravel from a river for construction, where the specific gravel was a spawning bed. The act outlines that you need to wilfully want to destroy the spawning beds, and thus paddling over the top of them is not such an act. And as to imply that in descending by kayak, the provide a restriction for fish to pass, would mean we'd need to be there 24/7/365 and this is not the case. The very transient nature of our sport, means disturbance if at all will only momentarily affect fish.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Debaser »

Where exactly are the reams of reports outlining, in painfully exacting detail, paddlers deliterious effects on fisheries?

No? Can't put your hands on them?

I've managed to find two.
I told a lie.

There were three that I found. The other, the 'REVIEW OF ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF BOATING AND ASSOCIATED ACTIVITIES ON LOCH LOMOND AND ITS SHORES' by Northern Ecological Services, didn't even see fit to consider canoes/kayaks at all.
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Bod »

Simon Westgarth wrote:In my Undergraduate project, I researched this act, and there had been at that time, one criminal case that took their ruling from the SAFFA Act, and it was when someone had removed gravel from a river for construction, where the specific gravel was a spawning bed. The act outlines that you need to wilfully want to destroy the spawning beds, and thus paddling over the top of them is not such an act. And as to imply that in descending by kayak, the provide a restriction for fish to pass, would mean we'd need to be there 24/7/365 and this is not the case. The very transient nature of our sport, means disturbance if at all will only momentarily affect fish.
In complete agrrement with Simon, it is important to understand that the you would need to put a net across the river to really restrict them from passing. That part of the act is about preventing the illegal fishing of spawning fish, not about paddling.
Last edited by Bod on Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RichA
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by RichA »

If this act makes it illegal for paddlers to float over spawning grounds/gravel beds, and has been around since 1975, then why oh why did anglers enter into access agreements and not just get us all arrested in the first place!?!?
I can only assume that they knew back then that the act wouldn't be able to stop paddling and that they're using it now as one of their last ditch attempts, which are coming more desperate every time it seems.

Still, if WAG etc get the law changed then that will clarify that the act will not be relevant to paddling, only willful damage by anyone at all as it should be.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Wildswimmer Pete »

Simon Westgarth wrote:In my Undergraduate project, I researched this act, and there had been at that time, one criminal case that took their ruling from the SAFFA Act, and it was when someone had removed gravel from a river for construction, where the specific gravel was a spawning bed
The SAFFA act was only ever intended to control the commercial removal of gravel and similar large scale destruction of riverbeds. It is only legal "mission creep" that allows the threat of its use by vested interests to deny access to our natural waters. I find it somehow obscene that one particular pastime has its interests protected by draconian legislation - feudal legislation that has no relevance in a modern democracy. Not only that but angling receives a massive public subsidy.

How does anyone know whether a river contains salmon or not? Believe it or not the Mersey is once again a salmon river!

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by fishguard »

Hi RichA, and all other Padllers,

Sorry for using the wrong thread.

Now I am on the right one, and replying to the statments made, the reasons there were access agreements and they were restricting in what they offered Paddlers was for the protection to Spawning beds/fish etc. As for Anglers wadding, this is only allowed out of spawning season, and anyway why would they be wadding when they cant fish? (closed fishing season).

As mentioned on earlier posts, this legislation effects all and anyone breaking it whether it be Anglers,Canoeists, Kayakers,gorge walkers etc, and is not scaremongering it is fact.

As for what has changed over the last 34 years, its obvious that a lot mor people have taken up Paddle sports, as they have with any other sports, and I dont think the E.A were prepared for this. But now that it has been brought to there attention recently, they have a duty to follow up their legislation, so even though there may be little evidence up to now of any court actios/prosecutions, you may find that will be changing very soon.

There is no point arguing with me about this, as it is not me responsible for it, may I suggest you talk to some of the lads from Bangor Uni, as they may well be the ones caught offending first, unless they take note of the warning letters off the E.A.

Regards Fishguard

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by shanclan »

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Last edited by shanclan on Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Simon Westgarth »

shanclan wrote:Fishguard, Is there anywhere that publicly informs us of where the spawning grounds are on particular rivers? This would be useful.
The EA upon request have refused to provide information on where specific spawning beds are, thus if this information is not in the public domain, it is hardy likely that legal action cold be taken. The real issue from the SAFFA is that the person(s) wantonly damages the spawning beds, and it is here where the fishing lobby will have a difficult job, plus whether the passing of boats floating over such spawning beds has any impact on the viability of fish stocks will be extremely difficult to establish. The disturbance of spawning fish is also a non starter, as most spawn in the twilight, of late Summer into early Winter. For sure Mr Fishguard is trying to churn up some noise, however the SAFFA is intended for more crime intention, and thus there is little of that if at all from paddlers, descending the river.

The fishing lobby are now under pressure, as the heavily weighted game of using highly ineffective voluntary access agreements has been all but abandoned by everyone else, because there has been no notable progressive in 50 years. Legally there is little that can stop paddlers getting on the river; a civil injunction to restrict specific people from a location will mean that these paddlers will go elsewhere, and any criminal case from the SAFFA has no traction, because it will be nearly impossible to quantify damage needed to be judged criminal. As the unfairly weight situation comes more into the public domain, the fishing lobby will appear increasing out of touch and in fact selfish pegged to their claims. The EA are politically a lined with fishing, as a large chunk of their budget is for the maintenance and upkeep of fishing stocks, and thus do not be smoke screened from the fact the public purse pays for this activity. Yes their is revenue collected from rod licences, by that is a minor percentage of the total cost of fisheries within the EA. All rural sporting activities bring income to local economies, and neither fishing or paddling can claim exclusivity with this.

The end game is for management agreements brokered by an independent agent, as open access in its self will tip the scales too much in our favour. Perhaps we need one before the other, however what is clear is that more paddlers are paddling more rivers and if the fishing lobby still wishes to through mud, they can, but we're simply paddle on by. Paddling is a transient sport, and fishing location specific, so there is little rational reason why we can not use the rivers at the same time, unless someone wishes to uphold the current status quo to maintain their own position.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Wildswimmer Pete »

How does SAFFA apply to a river with navigation rights? The laws regarding navigation are much older than SAFFA and I would suggest superior. It is in fact a criminal offence to attempt to prevent or otherwise interfere with lawful navigation.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Bod »

fishguard wrote:Now I am on the right one, and replying to the statments made, the reasons there were access agreements and they were restricting in what they offered Paddlers was for the protection to Spawning beds/fish etc. Regards Fishguard
That is the biggest piece of Bull shit I have ever seen. My first swear word on the forum (probably). The reasons there were access agreements and they were restricting in what they offered paddlers was an attempt to prevent paddlers from paddling at a time when fishermen were fishing. If access agreements were about protecting the fish then it would follow that paddling would only be allowed during the fishing season, when we are agreed neither fishermen nor paddlers can upset spawning.

You are either misguided or deliberately trying to mislead.
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by fishguard »

Hi Shanclan,

The E.A have listed all the know spwaning gounds on maps ( on certain rivers to start with), which will be available to yourselves in September Beforethis years Spawning Season, so read in to this as you will, but I very much doubt they are producing them for you to take an interest in fishing! So even if you paddle responsibly over Spawning grounds and are caught, you will stand the chance of being prosocuted.

And after reading a previous thread from paddlers, advising other paddlers that rules are there to be broken, after he had already been fore warned about SAFFA, thats a very good indication as to what will occur this Spawning Season.

So Im affraid even if SAFFA was never intended for this purpose, you are not able to exclude certain parties/sided from the law, when offences are being committed.

Regards Fishguard.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by StoneWeasel »

fishguard wrote:Hi Shanclan,

The E.A have listed all the know spwaning gounds on maps ( on certain rivers to start with), which will be available to yourselves in September Beforethis years Spawning Season, so read in to this as you will, but I very much doubt they are producing them for you to take an interest in fishing! So even if you paddle responsibly over Spawning grounds and are caught, you will stand the chance of being prosocuted.

And after reading a previous thread from paddlers, advising other paddlers that rules are there to be broken, after he had already been fore warned about SAFFA, thats a very good indication as to what will occur this Spawning Season.

So Im affraid even if SAFFA was never intended for this purpose, you are not able to exclude certain parties/sided from the law, when offences are being committed.

Regards Fishguard.
You poor deluded fool!

I don't really think I need to add any more than that.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by fishguard »

Hi Denzel/Bod,

Like I said ignorance is no excuse!

Regards Fishguard

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by peakfreak »

Heres a new one; lets go with access agreements BUT, instead of paddlers, wildswimmers & joe public going cap in hand to the fisherfolk, let the fisherfolk come to paddlers, wildswimmers & joe public. Face it NO-ONE owns the rivers and no-one has exclusive right to the rivers, so come on fisherfolk lets talk.

Futile I know. :-)

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by fishguard »

Sorry Peakfreak,

I cant control no one, but the law controls us all.

You can suggest Anglers negotate, with all other water users, but they already have access to the waters. So dont know how you will start that one off.

Regards Fishguard

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by StoneWeasel »

fishguard wrote:Hi Denzel/Bod,

Like I said ignorance is no excuse!

Regards Fishguard
That's all right fishy, I don't need an excuse this law is clearly not applicable and no matter ho much you bleat on about that you want it to be applicable will change that.

Tell you what, I will arrange a date with you where I will be paddling down the Gollitha Falls stretch of the River Fowey, now a fisherman down there was trying to that Salmon spawn in the deep pool to the left hand side after the second of the main drops. I will proceed to paddle over the top of this spot (it is a good 2+ meteres deep) and you can try and get me arrested for doing so. When nobody listens to you and I am not arrested then maybe you will stop trying to trot out this tired nonsensical crap!

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by MikeB »

This is merely going around in circles - for anyone to be successfully prosecuted under SAFFA will require there to be evidence of deliberate and willfull damage.

As has been outlined now several times.

It'll be fascinating to see how paddling over the spawning beds (even assuming anyone actually did) would be grounds for a successful prosecution.

Give up on the scaremongering f/g and move on.

Mike

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Big Iain »

Why aren't fish in Scotland affected by paddlers passing down the rivers?

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by wezzzy »

Big Iain wrote:Why aren't fish in Scotland affected by paddlers passing down the rivers?
They build them tougher the further north you go.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by dogger_dave »

fishguard wrote: you are not able to exclude certain parties/sided from the law, when offences are being committed.

Regards Fishguard.
This, it seems would be the operative sentance. Offences are not being committed, this has been confirmed by the EA in their 'warning,' letters.
fishguard wrote:
may I suggest you talk to some of the lads from Bangor Uni, as they may well be the ones caught offending first, unless they take note of the warning letters off the E.A.

Regards Fishguard
They won't, as you can't be caught offending if you are not offending. I'm one of those lads, so I know.
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Mission »

MikeB wrote: It'll be fascinating to see how paddling over the spawning beds (even assuming anyone actually did) would be grounds for a successful prosecution.
Even better since fishermen trying to push this wade around in the river doing actual damage! But its ok if they do the damage it seems, remember that lobby that was posted here a few months ago trying to get fishing seasons enforced to allow the fish breeding time banned?

Besides if no paddler has been prosecuted since 1975 (indeed has anyone paddling been prosecuted under any legislation yet?) I think its a safe bet that the courts also agree we are not breaking any laws by paddling!

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by garya »

Game fising represents only 2.4% (23,166) of all anglers, they only contribute 1.3 million to the overall EA budget throught rod license sales. 30% of anglers pay less than £17.50 for thier rod licene to fish.

( based on figures from the following ea report http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/re ... 01019.aspx)

I rather fear you are like old king Canute trying to hold back the tide of recreational users. With the recent expansion of National parks, Crow and Marine access bill the end game is near for claritiy and legislation on responsible access to our national heritage. The gillies on Kinder Scout learnt that lesson long ago.

The goverment is commited to getting people out, partipating in sport and fit. Kayaking is a sport as the Olympic Committe seem to think and more funding and faclities are heading our way, Sorry I missed the coverage of the UK fishing gold medal in Bejing.

Trout and salmon are prized by anglers as they are seen as sporting difficult fish to catch who fight when hooked. Seems like a very one sided fight to me if you are only going to hunt and realese them.

if scareing fish is a problem then the canadian salmon must be much harder as they cope with brown bears wading around in thier rivers during migration. We had better get onto the RYA and MCA and stop all those terrible sailors an powerboaters in our river esturies and lower reaches who are scaring fish and stoping them migrating in from the sea.

When will anglers come clean and just say the truth that fish hide when boats pass and take a while to bite again, or maybe that is down the the indivdual fishermans skill, Or that they like to sit alone on the bank and admire the river without any other disterbance. I think we could all believe you then.

Otherwise all this other stuff is just a smoke screen and smacks of a spoilt child stamping thier feet becase they won't share thier playground or toys.

Gary
Last edited by garya on Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Chrace »

fishguard wrote:Sorry Peakfreak,

I cant control no one, but the law controls us all.

You can suggest Anglers negotate, with all other water users, but they already have access to the waters. So dont know how you will start that one off.

Regards Fishguard
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Re: SAFFA 1975 Act, the new reason why we cannot paddle rivers

Post by Halox »

It seems that a day does not pass where another argument starts over river access in England and Wales between the fishermen and the kayakers / canoeists. It is getting a bit stale. I am a kayaker and a fisherman. When I am kayaking I make room for the fishermen and when I am fishing I make room for the kayakers. Doing either I do my best to avoid damaging the countryside including gravel beds, etc. It seems a few from both sides of the argument want to keep this going. The law at the moment is without doubt in the favour of the fishermen, which is unfair i feel in England. I think the rivers and countryside are there to be enjoyed by everyone, like in Scotland where it works really well. Fishing up ancient laws from the archives seems a bit pathetic. If someone does wrong they know they are doing wrong and should be punished. Kayakers dont need another law saying they cant go near rivers for the majority of the year. The law mentioned in above posts would apply to fishermen more than kayakers I feel. They are the ones who because of there numbers damage the bankings and leave fishing line lying behind them everywhere they go.

All my time as a kayaker I have seen far more damage being caused by fishermen than by kayakers and canoeists. Maybe this is because more fisherman use the rivers than kayakers. This is still no excuse. I think it is right that fishermen are charged a for a permit on any river. This should go to preserving the fish stocks and cleaning there mess. What to kayakers take?..................nothing but memories in my experience, so why should they be charged?

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