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A Permit To Fish The Broads?


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It was announced today that there had been a successful prosecution of the theft of fishing rights from Horsey Mere, it sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant case. 

https://www.norfolk.police.uk/news/latest-news/angler-found-guilty-fishing-without-permission-norfolk-broad

A positive to take from it, imho, is that this case does strengthen the argument for some uniformity and consolidation of fishing rights and also to protect the broads fishery from irresponsible or criminal behaviour. BASG have been scoping the potential for a broads fishing permit that would be required by anyone wanting to fish the broads. While this may sound a bit like having to pay for something you've never had to before I think the money raised could do wonders for fishing on the broads.

Full disclosure: I've been asked to post this by the BASG, although I do so as I am on favour of the proposal.

Some more details on the proposal can be read here.

https://basg.online/angler-found-guilty-of-fishing-without-permission-on-norfolk-broad/

I'm interested to hear the opinions expressed here, they've been fairly mixed on Facebook. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, CambridgeCabby said:

As one not in the know as to the distribution of the licence fee for a rod licence , may I ask if The Broads receive any of the existing fee paid to U.K. gov as I feel opinions could well depend on this .

My understanding is that the the EA do undertake some enforcement work on the broads around rod licences but that is routine and is part of their general remit. The rod licence gives you the right to use a rod but doesn't give you a right to at a given location. 

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Where next, Hickling Broad? Much of what is under water within Broadland is owned by someone  rather than by the Crown Estates. A frightening judgement in my opinion, I foresee a plethora of 'no fishing' notices across Broadland. 

Both angling and navigating on the tidal waters of Broadland have long been considered sacrosanct, if one is under threat then so is the other. 

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Thank you London Lad for clarification, difficult one I think .

My personal viewpoint would be one of if someone has a rod licence and it is within the permitted season then it is reasonable to expect to be able to fish all the waterways , if they are going to start charging regional licence fees on top of this then IMHO its unreasonable and unfair.

The (successful) prosecution in the article is I should think most worrying to fishermen like yourself , plus , as it was a criminal prosecution I presume it would be policed by the already stretched Broads Beat officers in addition to their current workload.

 

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That is nothing new - permits have always been required the fish Horsey in the winter for at least the last 20 years - the Broad is owned by the Horsey Estate and the number of licences issue daily is limited, in part I believe to stop overfishing for pike.

Despite the fishermans assertion and reliance on his rights under Magna Carta that he is entitled to fish tidal waters, he is wrong on that too - he is above the Normal Tidal Limit which is down near Candle Dyke.

Although I have never seen the right exercised, this is a bit like Wroxham Broad - technically you have to pay to mudweight and fish on the Broad as it is private - or at least that is what the sign says. Similarly,again not enforced, but Blackhorse Broad notice says you are not entitled to fish!

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As far as Broadland fishing goes, Horsey Mere has been the exception to the rule for many years. In my opinion it should remain just that. An EXCEPTION to the rule.

The links kindly supplied by Londonlad1985 make interesting reading but the sceptic in me made one point stand out in glorious technicolour.

" A fishery permit scheme could potentially fund its own management to sustain and enhance this great natural resource and ensure the balance is made between man and nature."

I have two issues with that. The first that I emboldened is the "self funding."  I would want to read a lot more about this funding, would it cover wages for someone or some people? Who would police them? To whom would they be answerable? ...do these questions sound familiar?

The second emboldened part was to "Sustain and enhance" May I ask who has been sustaining it up to now? and What do they mean "Enhance"?

Another part of the document that made me raise an eyebrow was...

"  The Broads Angling Services Group are currently scoping a solution with the introduction of a Broads Fisheries Permit and initiated discussions with landowners and stakeholders to lease these riparian rights and provide fisheries management services across the Broads."

Please tell me exactly what is meant by "Scoping a solution". It sounds like the sort of gobbledegook used as a catch-all, designed to cover anything the author wants! 

Now I have to ask "What about the boaters?" would they need to have a permit? Would this be another expense hirers would be expected to pay for their weeks holiday? 

No, no and no again, this is a plan to milk the holidaymakers and little more. It would put an extra strain on the Broadsbeat team. No, it must not happen.

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I would like to add another possible complication to this, concerning navigation.

I know I bang on sometimes about staithes but a navigation, in law, is a waterway leading to a staithe.  On a navigation, boats have priority over fishing and if a fisherman does not reel in his line to let a boat pass, he is obstructing the navigation, whether it is tidal or not.  I suggest this causes quite enough tension between anglers and cruisers, as it is.

On the contrary, when a waterway is not a navigation and the landowner has granted fishing rights to an angling club, then the fishing takes priority and boats have to try and go round the fishermen.

If there is now to be a system of permits, to fish on a navigation, whether or not it is tidal, I don't like the sound of it!

 

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We complain about the RSPB - it sounds to me that the BASG is another organisation we do not need. Are the Broads not  of the best freshwater fishing in the country - if its not broke, don't fix it!

We have already had them involved negotiating with the Cator Estate to close the footpath between Woodbastwick Staithe and Cockshoot -fishermen only allowed - is that just the beginning of more and more restrictions because they think fishermen are more important than normal folk?

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36 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

On the contrary, when a waterway is not a navigation and the landowner has granted fishing rights to an angling club, then the fishing takes priority and boats have to try and go round the fishermen.

I just want to explain that if a farmer, for instance at Upton, wishes to rent out a length of his river bank for an  angling club to stake out for match fishing, that does not mean that he has granted them fishing rights over the Bure navigation.

I wonder to what extent a permit system might change that?

Could it even lead to a length of river navigation being closed during a fishing match?

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Almost every Broad is owned by someone, as it was solid (ish) land before they dug a hole in it, therefore the owners have the rights for fishing and mudweighting. This has nothing to do with being tidal or not.

Rights to naviagation only apply if it was granted in the past. Hence no right to navigate on Wroxham broad as there was no staithe and therefore no need to navigate across it. Wroxham broad being closed 1 day a year to enforce the owners rights to non navigation. Horsey has rights to navigate  the dyke and Waxham cut.

Therefore each broad would need a separate permit, unless the landowners get together to organise something.

The rivers are separate, they being natural, the landowners only have the rights to the land, not to stop fishing below the highest tidal point. 

So Overall:

EA have the HMG granted right to charge you for fishing,

The landowners have the right to charge you for fishing on a broad, not the rivers.

The landowners have the right to charge you for access to a river from their land..

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1 hour ago, MauriceMynah said:

As far as Broadland fishing goes, Horsey Mere has been the exception to the rule for many years. In my opinion it should remain just that. An EXCEPTION to the rule.

The trouble is that if other land owners see this then they might, quite probably will start to think why should we not issue permits and charge? If they can do it, so can we, and who is to stop them. In my experience there is no such thing as an exception to a rule, simply a flood gate waiting to be opened. 

As for the BASG I'm sorry but I rate them only slightly above the RSPB in the list of most dangerous organisations. There work with the Cators to close permissive access to the bank side between Woodbastwick and Cockshoot has done them irreparable damage in my eyes, and exposes their true intentions. I'm firmly in the camp that the Broads are there to be enjoyed equally by everyone, and with a little consideration for each other that is quite possible as things are. I am not sure that that is the agenda of the BASG. 

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The 'Horsey exception' to give it a name, has been in existence for a considerable number of years, if the other land owners were going to do that, I think they would have by now.

The thing that sets Horsey mere apart is that a record breaking pike was caught there, a record that stood for a good number of years. It was that fame that the estate capitalised on.

another point I would make, I would prefer to pay a land owner for permission to fish from his land, than some nonentity, feathering it's own nest in the name of "sustaining and enhancing this great natural resource".

I'm with you on this Paul, I see the BASG in a very poor light. 

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I suspect for most landowners it would cost more to pay for a water bailiff to patrol their waters than it would provide in income. Horsey being a nature reserve, the landowners had EA backing so it cost them nothing..

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It seems to me that tampering by BASG with something that has more or less worked for years is likely to stir up a can of worms (pun intended) and we might well end up in a worse situation  than we have now. 

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