Petition calls for ban on fishing at Eastville Park lake
A PETITION has been started calling for fishing to be banned on Eastville Park lake.
More than 250 people had signed the petition on the Change.org website as the Voice went to press. It calls on the city council to immediately ban the popular pastime and comes amid "significantly" increasing reports of wild birds becoming entangled in fishing line at the lake.
Fishing at the park is currently allowed but controlled by permit and a series of rules.
Krysta Neve, who has posted the petition, said supporters were urging the council to put "a complete fishing ban in place".
She said: "Eastville Park is home to an abundance of wildlife, especially birds. Cygnets, herons, kingfishers, geese and ducks are some of the residents at the park.
"Unfortunately, fishing waste has been a major problem for some of these birds, as they become entangled.
"I’ve seen a dead coot with a fishing hook lodged in its mouth discarded in the park, and a swan with an entangled wing."
"It’s always heartbreaking seeing an animal suffer and the park community has decided that enough is enough. There are so many ways to connect with nature in the park that don’t put wildlife at risk."
Krysta's post announcing the petition on the Friends of Eastville Park Facebook page, where there have been several reports of injured or trapped birds, sparked a fierce debate.
Anglers say fishing has been going on at the lake for "generations", with one calling an attempt to ban it "bizarre".
One angler said: "People who just moved to the area suddenly demanding stuff like ban fishing on the lake which I’ve been doing since I was a kid! Was never a problem!
"Yeah, people who fish there need to be responsible and clear their stuff, as they are giving the responsible fishermen a bad name, which is unfair – perhaps if more dredging of old pushbikes and shopping trolleys were to happen, there wouldn't be so many caught lines. Just a thought."
Another said he had been taking disadvantaged and disabled children to the lake to learn about fishing and added: "For some, fishing and a day's learning and engaging with the lake or the river this way is the best thing that happened in their lives for weeks, months or years. It will be so sad for these kids to lose something so special to them."
The council currently allows people to buy a permit to fish with a rod and line at Eastville Park, at a cost of £6 per year.
Fishing is allowed only a designated area, in open season, which runs from June 16 to March 14, and all fish have to be returned to the water unharmed.
There are a series of other rules, and signs (above) posted around the lake detail a code of conduct – which includes retrieving broken lines – and indicate wildlife protection areas.
Andrew Gee, of the Friends of Eastville Park, said incidents of birds being entangled with discarded fishing line had been "increasing significantly" and said discussions were underway with the city council to find a "long term solution".
Do you think fishing should be banned at Eastville Lake? Send your views to email@example.com.