A CONSULTATION has been launched to decide the future of the coarse fishing close season in England.

As part of the consultation, the agency has published a paper setting out the results of its evidence review and options for future regulation.

The options include retaining the current statutory close season; retaining a close season, but starting on April 15 and ending on June 30; and removing it altogether.

Kevin Austin, deputy director of fisheries at the Environment Agency said: “We want to hear the views of anybody with an interest in coarse fisheries, their preferred way forward and the reasons and evidence to support that.

"This will help us decide whether there is a case for change.”

“Our priority is to find the right balance between angling and protecting the fish stocks on which angling relies.”

The consultation is open for eight weeks, starting yesterday and ending on March 11. It can be found here: consult.environment-agency.gov.uk.