Anglers – Boycott Robson Green’s “Extreme Fishing”

Boycott Robson Green’s “Extreme Fishing”
Andrew agrees with the Angling Trust and also urges all anglers to refuse to watch Robson Green’s “angling” programmes

It is very rare I would discourage any programme showing fishing on the TV, but having watched certain episodes of Robson Green’s programme – now inexplicably into its second series – Extreme Fishing, I feel that I really must.

Personally I was horrified by some of the methods depicted as “Fishing” to an unsuspecting UK TV audience (and a surprisingly large one at that!), and also by Robson’s attitude throughout. I do not recognise Robson as an angler; indeed I never knew he fished until his first series came out. From what I’ve seen of his skills, he’s not even a very good angler, and certainly not of the calibre I’d expect to see presenting an angling show on prime-time terrestrial TV. There is nothing wrong with some of the methods he uses – when they are taken in the context of being successful methods for catching fish as FOOD, by cultures which have practised these methods for centuries – but all of this should be properly explained in the programme, rather than Mr Green showing off these methods at face value.

If I was a non-angling member of the UK public, I would be horrified at what Robson does in the name of fun, and worst of all in the name of FISHING. It would be easy to jump to conclusions that – because Robson is the only angler to be seen on terrestrial TV – all anglers from the UK must be like that; bloodthirsty, stopping at nothing to catch a fish and proclaiming that all fish which are caught should be killed! Fortunately, I know enough about the UK angling community to know that we are world leaders in fish welfare & safety, conservation, and catch & release, with almost 100% of coarse fish being returned after capture and a growing proportion of game fish also being returned. Robson proclaimed – on a National morning TV show no less – that “9 out of 10 fish returned to the water, die anyway”! This may be true of some deep sea fish hauled up too quickly from hundreds of feet deep, but if it were true of UK coarse fish, there would be no wild fish left in our country, and “commercial” fisheries simply could not exist as they would be bankrupt! Any informed angler would laugh at Robson’s statement, but non-anglers could now think that, for example, every time they’re walking their dog and see an angler return a roach to the canal, that the fish has a 90% chance of immediate death!

It is the mixture of Robson’s narrow-minded foolishness coupled with his open approach to glamourise bizarre and inhumane fish catching & killing methods (bow-hunting carp, shooting “sitting” moorhens with a bunch of rednecks, ice fishing with a multi-pronged barbed fork, spear fishing, the list goes on…) which I find most baffling. How can this man become UK angling’s most famous face to the non-angling majority? Please, if you are an angler, do not watch the angling shows of Robson Green (Although I preach “Know your enemy”, I would not advise watching any more than a few short clips, for fear of boosting the shows ratings!). If you feel strongly enough, please contact Channel 5 and the production companies involved to inform them of the many faux-pas and misrepresentations the series makes of the majority of British anglers.


UPDATE – Robson Green digging himself an “Extreme” hole down under!

26.03.09 Anglers’ fury about actor’s ignorant comments
Anglers of all disciplines have reacted furiously to comments by actor Robson Green about releasing fish. While publicising his new TV series, he reportedly said that he can’t understand anglers who release fish and incorrectly claimed that up to 9 out of 10 of them die.

The Angling Trust strongly disagrees with Robson Green’s views on this matter. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that fish can be caught and returned alive to the water without them suffering any significant stress or damage. In his latest series, we note that he himself returned most of the fish he caught.

If every angler followed Mr. Green’s advice, fish stocks would be decimated. Most coarse fish are not regarded as good to eat in any case, but many sea and game anglers now return most of their catch alive. Commercial fishing, illegal netting, pollution, over-abstraction and habitat damage have reduced many fish populations to critical levels and anglers do everything they can to try and protect stocks, investing millions each year on conservation initiatives.

The Angling Trust would advise all responsible anglers to release the fish they catch. We would also point out that all responsible anglers always treat their quarry with great respect, whatever they choose to do with them.

We know he has a television series to promote, but these comments are highly irresponsible, misinformed and damaging to angling. As the voice of angling, the Angling Trust is keen to ensure that the general public do not the wrong impression about a pursuit in which millions of people participate responsibly.

It seems Robson has been ruffling a few feathers in a Twitter spat, after someone raised issues with the show:

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