‘It’s man interfering with nature’ - anglers angry over Broads plan

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:51 09 August 2020

Hoveton Great Broad. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Hoveton Great Broad. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

An angler says he is concerned that a scheme to clean water in a Norfolk broad will harm fish stocks across Broadland.

Hoveton Great Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHoveton Great Broad. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John Pattrick, of the Norwich and District Pike Club, said Natural England’s plans to convert Hoveton Great Broad back its natural state by using water fleas to reduce the amount of algae and fish barriers could prevent fish from migrating through the Broads system.

Natural England says the work will create better water quality and a more natural ecology.

The Broad is private, meaning the public are not allowed to fish on it, but Mr Pattrick says the measures could prevent bream from spawning, leading to less fish for anglers to catch in public areas.

He said: “Fish have long migrated through the Broads system for as long as they’ve existed and it seems ironic that Natural England wants to stop something that is happening naturally for the sake of clear water.

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“I know it sounds ridiculous, people might say ‘they’ll find somewhere else to spawn’, but don’t forget we’re talking about natural creatures here, if they’ve done something for generations, that’s where they do it. If they’re prevented from doing it then you’re going to get confusion. It’s basically man interfering with nature, they’re probably doing it in the best interests but once you upset one thing it sets off a chain reaction.”

His concens were echoed by John Currie, chairman of the club, as well as the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain, who said it was “appalled” because it had been one of the biggest contributors to the project since it started.
They say science did not support going ahead with the project.

But a Natural England spokesperson said: “The Broads are an iconic feature of the English landscape, and we are working hard to nurture and improve these vital habitats by driving biodiversity and improving water quality.

“As part of this work, and following a public consultation with local stakeholders, we have been granted a permit by the Environment Agency to deliver a project which will restore Hoveton Great Broad to better water quality and a more natural ecology - including a more diverse fish community which is resilient to any climate change impacts.”

The barriers will be in place for up to 10 years, preventing fish from entering while the Broad recovers.

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