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Sea eagles 'not wanted' on broads

PUBLISHED: 14:50 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:20 03 July 2010

Giant sea eagles in the Norfolk Broads? Not if we can help it!

That was the unequivocal response from local anglers following the proposal by Natural England that a trial colony of the eight-foot wingspan fish-eating predators could be introduced successfully on Horsey Mere, writes Roy Webster.

Giant sea eagles in the Norfolk Broads? Not if we can help it!

That was the unequivocal response from local anglers following the proposal by Natural England that a trial colony of the eight-foot wingspan fish-eating predators could be introduced successfully on Horsey Mere, writes Roy Webster.

Mere owner John Buxton has publically and forcefully stated his opposition to establishing this potentially damaging predator on one of the most sensitive and important international nature reserves.

Broads anglers are right behind and supporting this caring conservationist.

Despite two major sea floods and repeated outbreaks of the fish killer algae prymnesium during the last century Horsey Mere fish stocks have managed to recover.

The Mere received national acclaim in 1967 when Norfolk angler Peter Hancock heaved out a new British pike record of 40lb 1oz, the first of its kind to be properly authenticated over 40lb in the British Isles.

Alas, this fish was one of millions wiped out by the killer algae in 1969, but then fish stocks recovered and in 1987 Gorleston angler Derrick Amies, the boss of the Gorleston Tackle Centre, winched out yet another British record from the Thurne Valley waters scaling 42lb 2oz.

Horsey Mere now harbours rare bittern as well as excellent stocks of silverfish and pike. Angling is run on a fair permit system, leaving conservationists and anglers alike satisfied with the outcome of sensible cross party agreements.

However, Mr Buxton has no doubts that bringing in a flock of sea eagles would upset this equilibrium.

He said: “To try and introduce sea eagles in such a vulnerable area would make a nonsense of all the hard work that has been put in to

re-establish species.”

That view was wholeheartedly supported by Broads Angling Strategy Forum team member Richard Barnes who runs a fleet of fishing dinghies on the Trinity Broads at Filby.

“Our Broads fish are already under pressure from flocks of cormorants and alien mink while having to support a burgeoning otter population,” he stated.

“We have some massive bream on Filby ranging well over the 10lb mark, and this autumn anglers have caught quality pike over 20lbs.

“The thought of these fine fish being carried off in the claws of alien birds of prey will appal most anglers,” he concluded.

According to Natural England archaeological evidence suggests sea eagles were once numerous in the Broads, but anglers will be

keen to remind them that bears and wolves also roamed East Anglia but so far there has been no serious suggestion that these killer creatures should be man-assisted in making a comeback!

Meanwhile, all anglers made the best of mild conditions to enjoy quality fishing.

Hopton and Gorleston beaches were the cod hotspots with double-figure specimens snatching hooked whiting as they were being reeled in.

Yarmouth sands also continued to be a popular venue with codling reported between 2lb and 6lb as well as numerous pan-sized whiting.

On the freshwaters, pike have continued to feed on the Trinities, Horsey and Hickling but it's a waiting game with dead-baits best.

Match results. Barford Silverfish Open: T Anderson (Browning Pownalls) 16lb 1oz, C Cooper (Anglers World) 14lb 2oz, P Gardiner (Browning Pownalls) 11lb 11oz.

Burgh Castle Open: K Hodgins (NDAA) 22lb 10oz, L Arnold (Jolly Boys) 17lb 6oz, J Coleman (Gorleston Shrublands) 17lb 1oz.

Stalham AC, Club Lagoons: D Agass 19lb 6oz, D Egerton 15lb 6oz, D Dearman 13lb 6oz.

Martham AC, Melton Ponds: P Beck 112lb 5oz, K Chaplin 91lb 2oz, G Maddison 66lb.


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