FISHING is set to return to Baffins pond after almost 20 years.
Anglers have welcomed the decision by Portsmouth City Council to reintroduce the sport after water quality was shown to have dramatically improved.
In 1994, fishing was banned at the pond after a number of fish deaths.
Since then, measures have been taken to clean the water, including removing silt, reducing carp stocks, installing a fountain, planting vegetation and restrictions on feeding birds.
This work was done by the Portsmouth and District Angling Society in partnership with the council, the Environment Agency, and the Baffins Pond Association.
Now the pond is expected to reopen in time for the start of the coarse fishing season on June 16, but only to members of the Portsmouth and District Angling Society, which will manage the pond and ensure strict conservation rules are not broken.
Society secretary Ian Snook’s father founded the group in 1948 which at its height boasted more than 1,500 members.
He said: ‘Baffins is one of a dwindling number of inner city waters that are so valuable to the community at large.
‘The water itself is ideally located in Portsmouth, easily accessible and is suitable for freshwater angling.
‘This means it is ideal for the section of members that our society was formed to help, namely members without transport, unemployed, less able-bodied, older and younger people.
‘It’s ideal for junior coaching events.
‘The water is on a major bus route as well as being within walking and cycling distance of most areas of the city.’
Society chairman Barrie Pascoe said: ‘I’m delighted that fishing has finally been reintroduced. It’s been something we’ve been working towards for a long time and a lot of work has gone into it.’
The council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport Cllr Lee Hunt said he had taken steps to make sure if fishing was introduced there was no chance of damaging the wildlife,
He said: ‘The whole environment has been improved – what we have done seems to be working well. But I will be keeping an eye on this to make sure we take it slowly and don’t rush things.’
· For more information go to portsmouthdas.co.uk