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World Catfish Classic 2013 cancelled

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Ross Honey (left) at last year’s Catfish Classic. The 2013 event has been cancelled because of the state of the venue.
↑ The 2012 Catfish Classic was set to be eclipsed in terms of entrants by this year's event until the plug was dramatically pulled.

The World Catfish Classic, sponsored by Pure Fishing’s Berkley brand for the last two years, has been cancelled for 2013.

The shock news was broken by organiser Ross Honey today, despite stories appearing elsewhere that the event was going ahead. Honey told Angling International that he ‘could not be associated’ with events surrounding Spain’s River Ebro venue.

Honey was behind the Friends of the Ebro, a body set up two years ago to clean up the Ebro and actively supported by brands and organisations including Berkley, Catfish Capers, Catfish Fishing, Ebro Carp, Ebro Crazy Cats, Carp Dream Fishing, the Catfish Conservation Group, the Compleat Ebro Angler, Caspe Delux Cat and Carp Fishing, River Ebro Catfishing, Fishing Events Competition, Ebro Folly Angling and Knittel’s Ebro Angel Camp.

“It is with deep regret that I have been forced to make this decision,” Honey told Angling International. “Unfortunately, after two years of negotiations at local, regional and national level to try to secure the future of the upper Ebro as a world class fishery, the assurances I was given did not come to fruition.

“I and my team did all we could to cleanse the banks to be used in the competition, and cleared 50 tonnes of rubbish in just a few days each year but, sadly, it wasn’t nearly enough. All the effort was wasted. Nothing has changed, and the banks were spoiled again because of poor legislation and controls.

“Similarly, the assurances I was given that the slaughter of catfish and carp would cease were no more than hollow words. Evidence of this was submitted to me just days after the launch of the 2013 event. Upon seeing the photographic proof of severely littered areas, most containing grizzly images of dead carp and catfish, I had no choice but to cancel the event.

“I have spoken to the sponsors about my decision and all of them have said they completely endorse what I am doing.”

This year’s World Catfish Classic was scheduled for June 4th to 7th at Chiprana in Spain. Honey had introduced boat fishing to the event to add to the excitement and the competition had already attracted 87 pairs of competing anglers compared to 45 last year.

The competition had become truly global with teams from the US, South Africa, Russia and all across Europe planning to attend.

“It would have been very easy for someone less caring than myself to simply turn a blind eye and run the event, count the money and walk away,” added Honey. “However, the sight of this carnage sickened me. It stands against everything I believe in ethically and morally.

“I am truly appalled that what is without doubt the best wels catfish fishery in the world is being systematically destroyed. It is sad to say, but the relevant authorities appear to be powerless (unable or unwilling) to do anything about these issues. That being the case, I cannot in any way justify running an event there. To do so would support the environmental devastation that I so strongly oppose.”

Honey has not ruled out resurrecting the event in 2014, but would only take it back to the Ebro on the condition that the current problems are resolved. “After investing so much time, money and effort into the project I would like to keep it going,” he said.



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