Commerce wins in battle of the river

ANGLERS have been beaten hook, line and sinker in the fishing war on the Orwell – with fishermen today having staved off another threat to their livelihoods.

ANGLERS have been beaten hook, line and sinker in the fishing war on the Orwell – with fishermen today having staved off another threat to their livelihoods.

It was the fifth time in a few months anglers had attempted to have commercial fishermen banned from the river between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

They claim allowing an increase in recreational fishing in the Orwell, and Stour, will bring a huge economic boost to the area – attracting many people to enjoy the sport.

But commercial fishermen from Felixstowe Ferry and Harwich who fish in the rivers dispute the claim, and say it will do little except drive them and their families out of business.

Helen Butcher, of the Felixstowe Ferry Fishermen's Association and the Harwich Fishermen's Association, was delighted with the Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee's decision to allow the fishermen to carry on their trade.

"We are absolutely delighted and now just want this to be an end to the matter," she said.

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"Every time it brings uncertainty and worry. This is our livelihoods we are talking about – and these anglers want to take that away."

Many fishermen have invested up to £30,000 in their boats, licence and equipment, and say any ban or restrictions would have had an enormous impact.

They say they do not over-fish the rivers and do not use them in winter, or when there is weed or jellyfish. It is a traditional fishing ground where anglers and fishermen have fished side by side without any problems for years.

The National Federation of Sea Anglers has been left very disappointed by the decision.

Federation member Steve Coppolo said the needs of sea anglers who were boosting tourism in the area must be recognised as well as those of commercial fishermen.

Should fishermen or anglers be allowed to fish? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveingstar.co.uk

WEBLINK www.nfsa.org.uk

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