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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Cheshire North
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    Default Who owns a river?

    Hypothetical question.

    Who owns the river?

    Act1 scene 1

    "You cannot fish here mate, your tresspassing and poaching, I can have the police here in 5mins" he said.

    Is the owner the sole creator and maintainer of its coarse?

    "Look, you have no licence, you havent produced a ticket for this stretch so Im asking you to leave".

    Ok, fine..

    I left. I was not on the land of a named man or his family, I did not kill or take and eat a fish either, I was unarmed and made no threat to use force. I was by myself.
    Nothing could be established by witness testimony of 2 or more as it was his word against mine.

    Who was it I caused offense to?
    The gentleman (who never claimed owned where I was sat), The fishing club? I was not a member rightly so but no indication of a club, no signage and no proof I had seen any! The EU supreme court? The EU just want your time and effort to create a beast...they are not concerned with wetting a line unless at sea! The local authority? Any land the local authority has bought with money from people living in that borough/area of influence is that peoples to use right? Maybe the Government....they immunized the force in once taking of the area I sat at previously then, at some point in the past it was just a river, did I offend the Queen? Who is claiming direct ownership

    Who actually owns a river? Who claims they can offer its use for a return? How did they acquire it? Was it lawful?

    I would genuinely like to know.
    Last edited by Weirdoh; 30-04-2019 at 10:05.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    The "owner" is the person or persons who posess the "Riparian rights" to the river.

    This typically (but not always) being the owner of the land where the river runs through.

    Riparian Rights have their origin in English Common Law and the right extends into the centre of the river (especially if both banks are owned by different people)

    Riparian rights include such things as the right to access for swimming, boating and fishing and also to allow for the construction of piers or wharfs as well.

    As well as "rights" a Riparian owner also has "responsibilities" such as: to pass on the flow of water without obstruction; maintain the river bed and banks; and to be responsible for protetin the land from flooding.

    Those rights and duties being overseen by the Environmental Agency

    In answer to your particular questions:

    1, The riparian owner owns that part of the river that flows though his purchased land

    2. Again, the riparian owner has the right to offer the fishing rights for sale or rent

    3. The Riparian Rights are usually obtained by the legal purchase of the and that ajoins the river, so that also answers the legality" question.

    Hope this help . . .

    PS: no one actually owns the fish in the river as they are free to roam, whereas fish in a pond or lake are owned by the owner of the venue
    Last edited by Peter Jacobs; 30-04-2019 at 13:33.

    Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.

    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary. ~

    Patrick F. McManus






  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    Bang on Peter, it stops folk doing what they want on private land without permission.
    Finding the riparian owner to ask permission rather than just taking what you want would be a better way to go. Not everyone is an ogre. The offer of a bottle of Malt would help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    The owner of the land through which a watercourse runs is normally the owner of the river bed to half way (unless he/she also owns the opposite bank as well) across and all the amenity rights, fishing and boating etc, that go with it. He does not own the actual water nor the fish (as has also been said), they are ferae naturae, wild animals.

    The river bed can be sold separately as can the fishing rights, usually with a right to access the land. So you could end up with three owners or more if boating was separated again. However, if the owner of the fishing rights grants a club or individual the right to fish and there is no exclusion clause stating that ALL fish must be returned alive, then whoever has the right and catches a fish, it belongs to him.

    As well as the river bed, the owner of that also owns the space above the bed including that which the water occupies. So anyone wishing to paddle through with a canoe must, unless it is defined as a navigable river, gain agreement with the owner to paddle through. He also owns the ground beneath the bed, barring mineral rights etc., to the Earth's core. (This came from a barrister we had one here.)
    Last edited by Jeff Woodhouse; 30-04-2019 at 13:18.
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

  5. #5

    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    Also remember that the land owner does not always have the fishing rights to the river on his land.

    The land may have been originally sold to the land owner and the trespass and fishing rights to an angling club.

    The land owner then can control trespassing, unless the accused is a member of the said club.

    It's very complicated.

    Basically, if it's on private land and the is no controlling angling club, then you are going to have to move on.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    Sorry, lunch was served. To continue...

    Even if the land is owned by the local authority, purchase with ratepayers' money, it still does not give you automatic right to fish there. It could be that the LA has granted a licence to fish to a local club and therefore you will have to join that club in order to fish it. Even if the banks is owned by the Environment Agency via the old Conservators, water authorities, NRA, and now EA, it still doesn't give you an automatic right to fish, same as above for LAs.

    You really have to make every effort to establish who owns the lands and who holds the rights to fish there. If you have tried, made all the local enquiries and Land Registry searches and still cannot establish any ownership then maybe fish there. If no one challenges you or states they own the fishing rights, via signs or however, then after a period of years you might be able to claim the rights yourself by prescription, but that's a devil of a job to prove.
    "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!" - Theodore Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Cheshire North
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    190

    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    Who created or gives the "riparian" rights?
    Also...correct me if I am wrong, can I assume ALL rivers are in fact "owned" by someone or claimed to be if it is indeed hard to prove either way?
    I do not wish to tresspass on other peoples land but I do not wish to have crime (theft) immunized by a local authority by paying them off or being licensed to commit a crime either, if I do not have a common law right to use a river because someone owns it fine but then it shouldnt be difficult to prove ownership either way?
    I just would like to enjoy freedom to fish without interferences and stay within the law (catch a chub, put it back, go home type activity).


    Thanks
    Last edited by Weirdoh; 30-04-2019 at 13:42.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    "Who created or gives the "riparian" rights?"

    As far as I am understand it, between the late 18th and early 19th century there were many a complex conflict over water rights between domestic, manufacturing and agricultural interests.

    From 1750 the courts had established a common law doctrine largely favouring, and attached to, riparian ownership although its legal base goes as far back as Roman and civilian law.

    Water law is a convoluted minefield in all honesty, but was mostly formed by the impact of industrialisation and technological innovation coupled to economic ideology.
    Much in keeping with many of our older laws, and in a similar vein it is not really an area for so called barrack room lawyers

    PS: If I were really concerned about ownership regarding a particular venue then the Land Registry is as good a place as any to begin a search, but in this day and age I'd be rather surprised to find any land adjacent to a river that is not "owned" by someone or other.
    Last edited by Peter Jacobs; 30-04-2019 at 13:58.

    Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.

    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary. ~

    Patrick F. McManus






  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Cheshire North
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    You made an excellent point....
    How difficult it actually is to make sure your not breaking the law while not expending where you need not have to or to the wrong people or thugs in general.

    Thanks for the information and I considered the land registry before so long as I can approach the land owner directly and not pay for information I could collect myself freely the land register is the only way to go. Cheers
    Last edited by Weirdoh; 30-04-2019 at 14:54.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    On another planet
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    Default Re: Who owns a river?

    Even common land may not have piscary rights to it and can also be privately owned, riparian rights as has been mentioned before in similar threads is and always will be a bit of a minefield. Even fishing clubs will claim to own stretches of rivers that are in fact public if they fall between their waters. Some areas have 'Town' waters for locals and some areas are free for all, there's quite a few of these that are well kept secrets or get little publicity, but compared to the miles of private bank are hard to find.

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