Battle of the fishermen – ANGLERS and commercial fisherman look set to go head to head on the county’s rivers once again.
Commercial fishermen are claiming they face a renewed threat to their livelihoods with anglers making a fresh attempt to force them off the Orwell and Stour.
Anglers claim allowing an increase in recreational fishing will bring a huge economic boost to their area – attracting many people to enjoy the sport.
But commercial fishermen who fish in the rivers dispute the claim, and say it will do little except drive them and their families out of business.
Some of the fishermen from Felixstowe Ferry and Harwich 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 it is a traditional fishing ground and one where anglers and fishermen have always fished side by side without any problems for many years.
Helen Butcher, of the Felixstowe Ferry Fishermen’s Association and the Harwich Fishermen’s Association, said: “We are staggered this matter of restrictions is being raised again – this is the fifth time in just a few months.
“The committees which look into the issue has already firmly rejected it and we shall be asking it in the strongest terms to do so again.
“We are talking about our livelihoods here and all we have worked for. There are simply no need for restrictions.”
One fisherman said: “The size of vessel I operate is categorised as an inshore vessel and inshore is where we fish, are entitled to fish by law and have paid good money for that entitlement.”
The call for restrictions on commercial fishing in the Orwell between Ipswich and Felixstowe and the Stour between Harwich and Manningtree is to be debated by the Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee on Wednesday.
Alan Brothers, public relations officer for the National Federation of Sea Anglers, said: “Following recent government statements on the economic importance of sea angling, anglers have managed to get it back on the agenda.”
n Are you a fisherman or an angler? What do you think of the proposed ban? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk