Many of us outdoors people like to keep records of the animal and fish species we have encountered, caught or seen during our time in the outdoors. To keep those records we use spreadsheets, databases, dedicated apps and, perhaps, a pen and paper if you’re a little old-timey chap. As it turns out, there is a website that can not only help you record and explore your sightings but also include your data in the national dataset that is used by scientists. This website is operated by The National Biodiversity Data Centre and, in this episode of the podcast, our guest is their Citizen Science Officer, Dave Wall.
Just the other day, my buddy and I were unpacking our gear and were about to take a walk to our fishing mark. A passing family with two small kids waved at us and wished us good luck. This was not an uncommon occurrence. Many times, over the years, I have been greeted by, and even gotten into friendly chats with, non-angling passersby. On that day, while walking to our destination, we began to talk about how nonparticipants accept angling much more than hunting. We agreed that if we had been pulling out rifles, instead of fishing rods, from the trunk of our car, we wouldn’t have enjoyed such friendly reactions.
So why doesn’t angling spark such negative emotions as hunting? This must have something to do with the arbitrary scale each of us uses to assign value to the life of various creatures. We usually do so based on intelligence (elephants are so smart) or size (whales are so big) or perceived scarcity of the resource (there are not many lions left in the world). No matter how you cut it, fish usually rank pretty low on the scale. They are fairly simple creatures which are not fluffy or cute and in most cases are perceived as plentiful. So the public doesn’t mind seeing a dude with a fishing rod on the river bank.
Unfortunately, with the growth of radical environmentalism coupled with the recreational outrage culture, things have begun to change. Nowadays, anglers are criticised more often than before. The arguments are not new. Anti-anglers use the same rhetoric as anti-hunters: the causing of unnecessary pain to a fish, the allegedly negative impact on the environment, the supposed sanctity of all life, and all the rest of the quasi-ethical arguments. Social media platforms provide a slick echo-chamber for perpetuating such arguments. Alas, many people choose to shape their view of the world based on the shallow and uninformed opinions of their favourite celebrity, rather than scientific evidence.
It is somewhat worrying that this trend can also be seen among the hunting and fishing community. It is becoming more common for sportsmen to criticise each other based on what tackle they use or what quarry they pursue. For example, I have met a few anglers who were very critical about hunting, clearly blindfolded to the fact that angling is, itself, a form of hunting. So if you are a hardcore catch & release angler, criticizing fellow sportsmen, remember that you might be surprised, sooner than you think, to find yourself on the wrong side of this argument.
In the previous videos, I discussed in detail the probable EU ban on lead-based ammunition and the potential timeline for it. In this video, I give you my opinion on this issue.
This is another episode of the podcast where I talk with the representative of a political party. The goal is, as always, to dig a little deeper into some of the issues affecting the outdoors lifestyle. This time our guest is Pippa Hackett who is a Green Party Councillor and a spokesperson on Agriculture, Food, Forestry, Heritage & Animal Welfare.
Once again I want to include the disclaimer that it is not my intention to promote any political party. Instead, I want outdoors enthusiasts to be aware of how their support for a particular option might impact the activities they love.
Hen harriers are ground-nesting birds of prey whose UK population is in critical condition. Unfortunately, time after time we hear that a hen harrier has been killed illegally on grouse moors, a heavily-managed grouse habitat used for driven grouse shooting. In this episode, I discuss this hot issue with a field sports journalist Matt Cross.
The European Commission is gearing up to introduce a ban on the use of lead in shooting and fishing. But can anything be done about it or is it a done deal at this stage?
The proposal by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to restrict the use of lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle containing lead is looming. In this video, I discuss the timeline of coming events that will lead to approval or rejection of the proposed restrictions.