Anyone who has read my ramblings over the past couple of years may remember that I have tried to highlight the potential problems of the Broads Authority’s dredging policy. Well it seems the worst fears of anglers may be coming true. http://fishingsgreat.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/walking-precipice.html
Let me recap for those at the back;
The Broads Authority (an unelected quango) gave itself permission to dredge Heigham Sound through its own, in-house planning committee. This dredging is to appease sailors trying to use craft that are too big and unsuitable for a shallow system. Anglers have always been the poor relations of the wealthy sailing fraternity in the eyes of the BA.
The BA is using antiquated equipment when it is acknowledged by all that there are safer, more efficient ways to do the work.
The data on sediment the BA is quoting comes from minimal field study and is mostly theory produced by students in a classroom at Cranfield University.
Anglers led by John Currie, (also thanks to Steve Roberts, Micky Cox, the Norwich PAC & NDPC), highlighted the potential danger. Historic evidence suggests that disturbed sediment (caused by dredging) “coincides” with blooms of the dangerous algae Prymnesium Parva which, when it dies, releases fish killing toxins. PP outbreaks wiped out the Thurne system in 1969 and in the intervening years other sporadic outbreaks have devastated localised areas of the broads.
John Currie has gathered scientific opinion from around the world which unanimously says “we don’t know enough about Prymnesium Parva, leave it alone, do not dredge”. The BA has ignored overwhelming evidence and the warnings from toll paying anglers. Overseeing all of this is Natural England, a government group of eco-fascists who really should be supporting the views of anglers but sit on the fence because protecting fish is “not within their remit”.
Jump forward to the present. The BA have been dredging for several weeks as part of a farcical “Island recreation” scheme. The water temperatures have steadily risen and all of a sudden we have an outbreak of Prymnesium Parva; Pike, Perch, Roach & Bream are dying right now while you are reading this. Because these deaths have occurred a mile away from the dredging site the BA claim it has nothing to do with their work, which shows they know nothing about tidal flows, currents and undertows. BA’s Dan Hoare claims that Hickling Broad is “poorly flushed” so he’s obviously never been afloat when there’s a decent wind blowing!! This lack of practical experience and ignorance of water movements from the Broads Authority’s “Environment and Design Supervisor” is shocking.
Surely it would be safe to assume that the dredging work would be suspended while an investigation takes place? No! They are carrying on the work regardless. What is more the BA purchased an “impermeable silt curtain” to stop the movement of sediment but they are NOT using it!! Why? Because it “moved and drifted…causing more sediment…”. Put more weight on it you idiots!!!
So there we have it. The Broads Authority has ignored the fears and warnings from anglers and other concerned water users. They've dredged regardless and fish are dying but it’s not their fault. If a business ignored its customers it would go bust pretty quickly. The BA is not fit for purpose and people within its hierarchy should resign. Let us all hope this is just an isolated outbreak in a localised area which is over quickly and not a repeat of 1969.
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