THERE seems to be strong debate brewing about the state of our beaches and the “cruelty” administered to fish.

In a Facebook post, a member of the public enjoying the beauty of Cold Knap, in Barry, said the inspiring environment of one of Wales’ best beaches didn’t fill them with joy, but made them “sad” and “disheartened” due to the amount of dead fish they found caught in fishing gear.

The post went: “I feel quite sad and disheartened.

“I walk on the Knap beach every day and every time I find dead dogfish with fishing lines, gear, hooks, and sinkers attached.

“(Recently) I found one thrashing trying to get free.

“I understand people fish, but how is this ok?”

The post generated huge response online, with one person writing: “I have had the exact experience many times, one dogfish still on the sand with a hook in its mouth which I couldn’t remove.”

Another said: “Most fishermen and women are respectful and look after our fish and beaches.”

And one more said: “My goodness, me reading the comments here makes me realise what a big issue there is with debris left from people fishing.”

Now, Angling Cymru has got involved and the national governing body for coarse, game and sea angling in Wales has urged people who want to fish recreationally to learn how to in the correct manner.

Angling Cymru regional secretary for East Steve Chadwick explained: “The problem is caused by inexperienced pleasure anglers (not match or club anglers) who are not using the correct breaking strain line which results in terminal tackle ‘snapping off’ when casting complete with baited hooks.

“In such cases the dogfish pick up the bait and remain stranded with the terminal tackle attached.”

Penarth Times: A member of the public said they were disheartened about the amount of dead fish they found tangled up in fishing gearA member of the public said they were disheartened about the amount of dead fish they found tangled up in fishing gear (Image: Facebook)

Penarth Times: One of Wales' finest beaches; Cold Knap in BarryOne of Wales' finest beaches; Cold Knap in Barry (Image: Google Maps)

How to avoid tackle 'snapping off' according to Angling Cymru regional secretary Steve Chadwick

Mr Chadwick says “snapping off” is the root cause of the problem of fish getting caught in fishing gear.

The general rule to reduce "snapping off" when casting, according to Mr Chadwick, is as follows.

A six metre length of shock leader should be attached to the main line, 10 times per ounce of the fishing weight being cast. E.G. if a six oz weight is being used then the shock leader should be a minimum of 60lb breaking strain.

Penarth Times: Some of the fish are found still aliveSome of the fish are found still alive (Image: Facebook)

Barry and District asked whether it is illegal to discard fishing gear at beaches. Mr Chadwick replied by explaining the measures Angling Cymru has brought in to try prevent this.

“Regarding your question ‘is it illegal’, the answer is yes, if fish/tackle is intentionally left on the beach, it is classed as litter and illegal under the England and Wales Section 87(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

“This carries a on the spot Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). Minimum fine £65 up to a maximum of £2,500.

“As an organisation we are fully aware of the legalities of intentionally leave fish/tackle and litter on the beach to the extent that we have at club and regional competition level built into the rules the banning of leaving such items on the beach and surrounding area.”

Natural Resources Wales said the complaint came under the Welsh Government’s remit, with a government spokesperson saying: “We urge all anglers to familiarise themselves with the NRW Angling Code and to support initiatives such as the Anglers United Against Litter and the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme to help protect the natural environment.”

Helpful websites for recreational fishing in Wales | | | |