The TAC is a Free to join voluntary organisation established at the beginning of 2010 and run by anglers, wanting to help in the conservation of the River Thames.

As anglers we spend a vast amount of time by the river and collectively we hold an incredible amount of knowledge about the fish that the river contains. Many of us have fished the river for the best part of our lives during which time we have all noticed changes in our catches and the environment.

While great strides have been made in the last 50 years to bring life back to the Thames, the river is still faced with many challenges. In the last 10 years eel populations have crashed and invasive species, such as Chinese Mitten Crabs and American Signal Crayfish have gained a far-reaching foothold damaging the ecology of the river. Asiatic Clams and Zebra Mussels are out-competing native molluscs at the river bed and Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed have colonised much of the river bank. Suitable habitat for spawning fish has declined and water abstraction is an ongoing problem causing the river to resemble a lake for much of the year. The potential impact of Hydro Power projects is still being assessed and the TAC is at the heart of the consultations. We strongly campaign against any loss of fishing rights, illegal fishing methods and poaching.

One reason for the formation of the TAC was to campaign against sewage entering the Thames. In the last decade there have been several large scale fish kills due to untreated sewage being discharged into the river from sewage treatment works when they are overwhelmed during periods of rain fall. Not only is this a serious environmental problem but it is a health hazard to all river users.

While we appreciate that Thames Water are currently increasing the capacity of the Mogden Sewage Treatment Works by 50% and the Tideway Super Sewer is planned, sewage is still regularly discharged into the river. This is readily acknowledged by Thames Water, who state that “Annually 32 million cubic metres of diluted sewage is discharged into the River Thames, enough to fill the O2 (Millennium Dome) almost 15 times”.

The TAC engages with other river stakeholders such as Thames Water, the Environment Agency, local councils, conservation organisations, river user groups, residents and more. We care passionately about the Thames just like many care about their local park. Hence we perform regular clean-ups along the river, removing rubbish from the banks and overhanging trees to make the Thames a safer environment. But we need to do far more than that to make sure this wonderful resource is looked after. Consequently we are consulting with many river organisations to make sure that Thames Angling is fully represented.

We work closely with the Angling Trust as a consultative for the Thames below the Staines Stone. The Angling Trust is the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in England. The Angling Trust lobbies government, fights pollution, over-abstraction and poaching, and campaigns on conservation and angling issues as well as a host of other threats to angling and the aquatic environment.

Along with being a conservation group, we are also Thames fishing club. We have a vibrant forum where members can discuss catches, post pictures get advice on any subject. We hold regular friendly matches and fish-togethers where members can meet up and enjoy time on the river. Our membership has a wide range of abilities, experience and fishing styles, unlike many other groups we are not single species or only specialist.

Above all, we at the TAC are dedicated to protecting and improving the River Thames for the benefit of all. We hope you will join us in trying to make the Thames a better place for both native wildlife and those that appreciate it. We welcome your support and ask that you become a member and get involved in what we are trying to do.

More details: www.rivertac.org

– from Ed Randal