White bread bait ban amid 'fat fish' fears

Loaves and fishes - one UK fishery is concerned their fish are getting too fat on processed bread.
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A UK fishery has become the first in the country to ban white bread, stating it is unhealthy for the fish. Instead, fishermen have been urged to use pieces of wholemeal and grain bread into lakes, or better still, approved fish pellets.

Experts say white bread lacks the protein that brown slices contain and too much of it leaves fish bloated, lethargic and with bad guts. Traditionally, anglers have thrown bait onto the surface of the water to attract fish like carp to their peg on the bank.

White bread has also been commonly used as a hook-bait for centuries and is even referenced in the fisherman’s Bible, 'The Compleat Angler' by Izaak Walton in 1653.

But a fishery in Hampshire has become the first in the country to take the unusual step of banning it because of the poor dietary effects it has on the fish.

The move follows a sporadic trend across the country of members of the public being banned by local authorities from throwing white bread to ducks.

Graham Mabey, whose company FLE Angling own Greenridge Farm Fishery near Romsey, defended the scheme, saying that while they did not want to 'discourage the tactic of using a surface bait', white bread in vast amounts was unhealthy for a lot of wildlife and attracted rats.

'We found that people were turning up with up to eight loaves of white bread which is an extraordinary amount,' he said. 'The salt and sugar levels in white and brown loaves are similar but in a typical white sliced loaf there is 3.5 grams of protein per slice compared to the 5.6 grams in brown bread. It's just like people, the fish tend to get lethargic and bloated if they consume too much white bread.

'We have put a note on our website and on our board of rules that no white bread is allowed. We'd rather they use baits that are better for the fish and will give them a normal healthy gut.'

Other fisheries have outlawed other bizarre baits in the past such as cat food.

Ian Wellby, a fish health scientist, said: 'If I were advising a fishery owner I would question the necessity of a ban as white bread is unlikely to do any harm in a fishery.

'Fish are pretty canny and will go looking for something else which means anglers will stop catching on it and switch to another bait.

'If there is a problem such as fish looking unhealthy you would need to start looking at supplementary feeding and instead of a bread ban I would suggest selling bags of coarse fish pellets very cheaply to encourage their use.'
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