Safety fears may prompt ban on fishing from pier
- Credit: Nick Butcher
They are a familiar sight amid the seaside crowds – waiting patiently to land a catch.
But now fishermen could face being cast from Cromer Pier amid fears the popular pastime is posing a safety risk.
An increasing amount of fishing hooks and weights are said to be accumulating on the pier from snagged lines.
RNLI crew members report regularly discovering tackle on the lifeboat station slipway and windows at the boathouse have also been cracked by lead weights and fishing moulds.
A bar on fishing from the area around the lifeboat station has recently been put in place by the pier's owners North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).
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Now moves could be made for a ban on the use of fishing rods along the whole pier if the problem persists.
Lifeboat operations manager Richard Leeds said: 'We have a growing problem with anglers casting out lead weights and hooks near to the slipway and the parts of pier that belong to us.
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'If the practice continues, angling may have to be banned from the pier for safety reasons.
'We have to check for fishing tackle every day which is potentially dangerous to our personnel and visitors.
'There is a possibility of someone getting hit by a hook or lead weight.
'It has been an ongoing problem, but there seems to be more and more people fishing from the pier.'
He added: 'We are asking anglers to adhere to the rules or we may have to take other steps to maintain health and safety.'
Retired taxi driver Keith Hodgkin, from Loughborough, has been regularly fishing from the pier from the past three years.
He said: 'Most anglers are responsible, there are just a few who do not watch what they are doing and spoil it for the others.
'I would not like to see fishing banned from the pier, a lot of people come down here and enjoy it.'
He added: 'I often catch dabs and whiting and sometimes get a sea bass if I am lucky.'
NNDC Cabinet member for assets John Rest said: 'Safety concerns have been raised regarding anglers casting their lines over or towards the lifeboat house from Cromer Pier. There has been a report of a broken window and there is the possibility members of the public or our lifeboatmen and women may be injured by a hook or weight.
He added: 'We don't want to stop responsible anglers enjoying the pier but if there is risk of injury or damage it is our duty to limit any potentially dangerous activity. In consultation with the RNLI we have put up signs asking anglers not to fish in specific areas and we hope they will be heeded.'
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