Friday 20 February 2015

Ripples at the fishing club

Individual fishing clubs in Indre-et-Loire are affiliated to the départemental FDP37, La Fédération Départementale de Pêche 37. This gives them the right to call themselves an AAPMMA - un Association Agréée de Pêche et de Protection du Milieu Aquatique, a recognised association of fishing (with rod and line) and protection of the aquatic environment. FDP37 is in turn a member of the regional federation l’Union Régionale des Fédérations départementales pour la pêche et la protection des milieux aquatiques des régions Centre et Poitou-Charentes (URFCPC), which is a member of the national federation la Fédération Nationale de la Pêche en France et de la protection du milieu aquatique (FNPF). Got that?

I'm what all the fuss is about. Blup.
Gradually the local associations of the communes bordering the Aigronne have merged so that AAPMMA « la truite de l'Aigronne » is now a body representing 114 fishermen of eight communes. Originally this was the AAPMMA of Le Petit Pressigny which has gradually mopped up the other associations. The latest to be engulfed (sorry, merged) are the Betz-le-Chateau and Le Grand Pressigny associations.

Reading the article in La Nouvelle Republique of 19th February 2015 gives an impression that the AGM on 7th February of the newly merged and renamed AAPMMA "the Aigronne Trout" must have been a rather distressing business. Although the association after the merger now has three vice-presidents, it was still necessary to appeal for younger members to put themselves forward for election to the administrative council, to be held on 21st November. The average age of those serving on "the committee" was too high for comfort. Anyone who has served on such a body knows what that feels like, and how depressing it is to be the junior member at 63.

As for the merger (le regroupement), that of the Betz-le-Chateau club and its membership had gone according to plan, so there would be continuity for the fishermen (and it is almost  exclusively men who fish here).

On the other hand, the dissolution of AAPMMA "la Gaule Pressignoise" - the Grand Pressigny fishing club - had not yet been achieved, the outstanding balance of funds had not been handed over, and the fishing tenancies for the sector were lacking. Should a grant to AAPMMA La Truite de L'Aigronne from the Indre-et-Loire federation FDP37 enable a release of trout on that species' nursery grounds, they could only release the young fish where they hold fishing tenancies.

FDP37 wanted to move towards a merger from the beginning. Despite lacking the prerequisites, "certain fishermen" of the former AAPMMA la Gaule Pressignoise want to form a separate club (or re-form the old club). They still have the fishing tenancies and the money, but they aren't an officially recognised body. Only an AAPMMA can issue fishing permits, with or without an official stamp for trout. You can only fish on the Aigronne if you have a permit, even on private land. Standoff.

Or as they say in the playground, "Fight! Fight!"

Normally, 100kg of young rainbow trout (not a native species) would be released into the Aigronne from the bridge by Moulin de Favier or in the Aigronne just behind our meadow, the furthest extent of their remit, in two batches about six weeks apart. Further up the Aigronne and the Remillon, in the communes of Charnizay, le Petit Pressigny, La Celle Guénand, 300 kilos of brown trout and 90 kilos of rainbow will be released, and on the Brignon, i.e. Betz le Château, Ferrière Larçon, Paulmy, Neuilly le Brignon, 50kgs of brown trout and 110kgs of rainbow. This adds up to rather more than three quarters of a tonne of alevins.

Electric fishing - sampling the Aigronne's population

The released fish are sterilised females. These grow quickly and look well, but they do nothing for the long-term population except to bamboozle the native males into attempting to breed with them in preference to the less attractive native females. The future of the Aigronne is a Category 1 trout-fishing river without breeding trout, and no amount of knocking down of barrages or regrading the river bottom will bring them back.

It is interesting to compare the attitude of the fishermen towards the native brown trout with the hunters' approach to the declining population of pheasants.The Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS) have attacked the issue scientifically with careful study, planning and testing of results.

A sample taken from FDP37's website
The fishermen, with the LEMA law behind them, appear to want to knock down sluice gates to permit migratory fish to pass, and for the brown trout, do what they have always done: pour money into the water in the shape of little wiggling fish.

Posted by Pauline


Susan said...

Excellent overview. The angling world is slightly clearer for me now. Not being a fisherman, it is all somewhat mysterious.

The released fish must be a reasonable size because you can always tell when there is a release or the season opens. Bridges are shoulder to shoulder anglers along both sides -- for 24 hours...then presumably they've caught everything and wait until the next release.

Tim said...

At least the fish are caught for the freezer in France. They aren't hooked and suffocated time and again. I don't think either method can exactly be much sport. Fly-fishing has much more appeal.