Mawddach wrote:Licensing or permitting makes sense,......
Why? It may make sense for one group of water users who are actually there hunting for fish and are interfering with the wildlife. Extending licencing to paddlers is like saying hill walkers should be regulated because shooting is regulated, ie nonsense.
Outdoor activities that are unregulated include walking, climbing, mountain biking, horse riding all of which have far more impact than paddling. By extension, I guess you want all of these regulated as well?
Mawddach wrote:and like all other water users, conditions and time of year must be taken into account before giving access.
They should be, they are, and there are codes of conduct.
Mawddach wrote:I used to work in forestry and if there was a bird of prey nesting we were not allowed withing miles of it, same should go for salmon and sea trout.
Why? It may be right for forestry work to stop in bird nesting sensitive areas, however the general public are very rarely excluded from breeding habitats of any kind. In climbing, there are clear protocols for avoiding nesting areas that are very successfully managed. Outdoor activities in general and those who participate have an excellent record of protecting the environment, especially when compared with those who are licensed to be there to hunt or who take economic benefit from hunting. Ask yourself why the species you were so sensitive about were endangered and where the pressures had come from. This is not just historical, have a look at the current debates about otter, cormorant and goosander populations.
When it comes to fish, there is no evidence that there is any disturbance of salmon or trout by paddlers even at low levels (although many paddlers choose not to paddle then to avoid the slightest risk of disturbance or criticism.) It seems extremely odd to suggest that we be excluded to address a non-existent risk, when fishing is permitted on the same rivers which are un-naturally stocked as the natural population cannot sustain the levels of fishing.
There's plenty of room for all to enjoy the rivers and lakes, but paying a fee for enjoyment of them is fair, that money can be invested in proper access points, car parking, removal of obstacles. Yes we do all pay taxes, this is not spent on making proper access points for canoeists cos they aren't taken seriously cos they can't even get their act together to regulate themselves. Canoe Wales represents a tiny minority of paddlers, maybe if they could come to an agreement on access they would get more members, as people would see them as being able to offer something.
Generating cash does not mean licencing people. Paddlers are happy to pay for parking or useful facilities provided. If you are in Forestry, take a look at the FC model for mountain biking that does not involve licencing.
Your comments on Canoe Wales 'coming to an agreement' suggest that you don't understand the problem.
Mawddach wrote:The countryside cannot be treated as a free playground for all, there are things that need protection, environmental things, economic things and cultural things.
I agree, but I don't agree with your conclusion that licencing has any part to play in any of the above.