Are Ely's rivers being ruined by irresponsible anglers?
ELY fishermen are worried that the riverside could be ruined by irresponsible anglers fishing without permission and dumping rubbish along the banks. They fear the city s water quality and wildlife could be damaged, returning the waterways to the poor con
ELY fishermen are worried that the riverside could be ruined by irresponsible anglers fishing without permission and dumping rubbish along the banks.
They fear the city's water quality and wildlife could be damaged, returning the waterways to the poor condition witnessed 25 years ago.
Anglers from the Ely Beet Club are also anxious to ensure that eastern European fishermen follow the rules when fishing on the club's stretch of river.
Members pay for a fishing lease which covers the waterway from Roswell Pits to Littleport and sell day tickets to non-members.
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But they claim some eastern Europeans are fishing without permission and eating their catches.
Illegal equipment, including nets and dead lines - lines baited in several places and left in the water fixed to a stake - have also been discovered along the river by the club's bailiff.
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"Some of the fishermen have given our bailiff verbal aggravation," said the club's fishing committee chairman, David Newman.
"We haven't got a massive problem at the moment but it will get worse and worse if we don't educate them to show them the way we do things.
"Dead lines and nets do a lot of damage to the environment; wildlife gets tangled in the nets and plastic rings from cans left on the banks."
Forty years ago Ely's riverside was attractive to fishermen coming from Sheffield and other northern cities to fish.
But by the late 1970s and 80s the water quality had deteriorated to such an extent that they stopped coming.
Work carried out by the Environment Agency to clean up the rivers has solved the problems and anglers have returned.
Beet Club members, however, are worried that the situation could easily be reversed unless action is taken now.
They plan to put up warning signs in a number of Eastern European languages along the riverbank and hope those fishing legally will encourage others to do the same.
"A lot of British anglers also leave their rubbish on the banks," said Mr Newman. "We have been to Adelaide Bridge with a working party and cleaned up.
"We want to encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it and take photographs so we can bring it to the attention of the authorities."
Richard Ingham, national fisheries enforcement officer for the Environment Agency, said: "We do get reports of illegal fishing and the bailiffs will go out. But it is not a major problem.
"There is a cultural attitude amongst the Polish and Lithuanians to eat fish such as pike and carp. The byelaws allow them to take up to two fish a day.
"We will investigate any reports we receive. It's a matter of education as well as enforcement."
Anyone with any information is asked to report and send photographs by email to email@example.com