26 August 2006.
By Nicola Woolcock
THE activities of the Lobster Liberation Front may sound like
a comedy sketch item.
However, a fervent defence of the lives of fish and sealife
is behind a sinister development in the animal rights
movement. Fishermen fear that they are the latest target of
extremists prepared to use violent tactics to disrupt their
sport. A group of anglers was attacked last week by hunt
saboteurs, and fish farms have been vandalised and damaged
Now the national umbrella organisation for fishing is
demanding a meeting with the Home Office to discuss the
safety of anglers. Jim Glasspool, the chairman of the
Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust, said that it wanted
to "ensure all steps are taken to protect innocent anglers
from further attacks".
Users of internet fishing blogs are encouraging each other to
contact their local police forces to demand what is being
done to protect anglers. The change of ploy by activists
coincides with an apparent decrease in the number of threats
and acts of intimidation against those involved in animal
testing. Yet saboteurs have been encouraged by the hunting
ban and some anglers fear that they have become a new target
because of it.
A bankside attack last week on fly-fishermen and women near
Lancaster was blamed on hunt saboteurs who had failed to find
any grouse-shooting parties. A group of 30 men armed with
bats smashed up rods, threw stones, damaged cars and started
fights. Two anglers were assaulted and a woman was punched in
the face. Other individuals, businesses and matches have been
A posting on the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) website in
March was headlined "trout abusers sabotaged". Activists
broke into Newmill Trout and Deer Farm near Lanark, threw
goods from the farm shop into a lake, cut brake cables on
vehicles and slashed their tyres.
In the same month 60 lobster pots were dismantled in Scotland
while slogans were spray-painted on fishermen's sheds. The
Lobster Liberation Front (LLF) claimed responsibility.
Members of the LLF also slashed nets belonging to a fisherman
in Dorset and draped them across his boats. Animal rights
saboteurs were blamed for releasing 50,000 farmed fish into a
reservoir in Kent this year.
A spokesman for the National Federation of Anglers said that
last week's animal rights attack on fishermen was not the
first. He said: "Police have to clamp down on this. Anglers
need to feel that they have the support of the authorities
and are safe when they go fishing." On its website, the North
West Hunt Saboteurs Association suggests that members read
Angling Times to discover the location of popular venues and
club meets. Forms of disruption it advocates include wiring
up access gates, changing around anglers' peg numbers,
putting up "match cancelled" notices, rowing up and down the
river, and using poles to lift fishing lines from the water.
Fished from the angler's blogs
# "I said this would bloody well happen! I said they would
bloody well come after me once they did for fox hunting!
# "Perhaps the sabs are too stupid to have worked out that
this is a battle that they will not win"
# "Angling should have a code of conduct in dealing with
these people. I would be interested in a proper, lawful
# "These people are fundamentalists. You cannot reason with
# "The day I have to give up fishing because the lobbyists
have somehow succeeded in getting it banned is the day I
declare war on my countrymen"
# "The best defence is to have a united angling alliance. We
need to portray and upkeep an image of guardians of the
countryside and the environment"