Aude – David Fernandez, president of the departmental fishing federation: “We must continue our work to reconquer aquatic environments”

Aude – David Fernandez, president of the departmental fishing federation: “We must continue our work to reconquer aquatic environments”
Aude – David Fernandez, president of the departmental fishing federation: “We must continue our work to reconquer aquatic environments”

The departmental fishing federation held its congress this Saturday, May 25. The opportunity for its president, David Fernandez, to look back on the past year but also on the actions to preserve waterways. Interview.

During your general meeting, you notably discussed the 2023 fishing season in Aude. As a result, what conclusions do you draw?

Overall, it was a season that went rather well. We have had a rich activity, particularly in our actions, whether in the management of aquatic environments or in the development of recreational fishing. Because we continue to implement our development plan for locals and tourists. The only downside, the same as that of 2022, is the drought. It had a big impact on us, mainly in the Corbières sector. But despite everything, we are continuing a dynamic that began a few years ago.

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What is the trend in terms of the number of fishermen in the Aude department?

Currently, since 2019, we have seen stability around 10,000 members. With a drop in adult cards but a sharp increase among young people. We see that they are returning more and more to the banks of the department’s waterways. There is a natural side that interests them a lot. The departmental federation has also made a lot of effort in everything relating to environmental education, fishing schools and their deployment. We also have fishing equipment that evolves with, for example, float tube boats, small equipment for fishing for predators, lures, flexible rods. But it is also thanks to the establishment of well-identified routes where young people know that they can find this or that species or fish in certain well-defined ways.

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With global warming, is it difficult to find certain species in our waterways?

To be honest it’s getting harder and harder for brown trout. She is losing ground. This is why we must continue our work to reconquer aquatic environments. The example of brown trout is obvious: when the waters warm up, they always try to go upstream to find fresh water. But sometimes she arrives at dams where she can’t go any higher. She remains stuck. We therefore work with several partners, this is one of our current topics.

With which partners?

We are lucky to have the joint union of aquatic environments and rivers (SMMAR). This partner has had know-how since the 1990s on which we can rely, particularly for its skills in hydrology, ecology and its continuity. We put them in synergy to be able to propose actions in the global interest. There is also the water resource because this does not only concern fishermen but it is also drinking water, for farmers and for the population in general.

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Is this declining water resource a hindrance for fishermen?

We make sure to anticipate the general climatic conditions, so that the fisherman can find his way. If it is no longer on a river, it is a body of water like a lake. We still have the chance in this department to go from the mountains to the sea. We can offer various activities. I’m not too worried about the fisherman, but rather about the water resource. But I remain convinced that with our partners we will be able to find solutions.

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