In UK, Port Comes to Grips with Access for Anglers, Bird Watchers

Port reverses decision that barred outdoors-lovers on property


LIVERPOOL anglers have returned to prime fishing spots after a U-turn by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

Port officials barred lone anglers, bird watchers and walkers from their land in May 2004 in an anti-terrorism crackdown.

Anglers consider Seaforth one of the finest fishing spots for hundreds of miles.

But the shake-up meant they had to apply for special permission as part of a large party, give a week's notice and provide identity details of everyone in the party.

North West Association of Angling Clubs president Allan Marklew slammed the restrictions as "draconian".

But dock chiefs have now relaxed the rules for Merseyside anglers after talks with Sefton council officers and Lib Dem Cllr Jack Colbert, a keen fisherman.

He welcomed the port's gesture, saying: "This reverts to the status quo and is great for fishermen."

Cllr Colbert also revealed that he hopes to create a Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Sea Fishing Federation which would meet every quarter in the firm's Seaforth headquarters.

A spokesman for the docks said: "We are pleased that lengthy discussions involving Merseyside Docks, the Port of Liverpool police, Sefton council, Cllr Colbert and a small number of anglers' representatives have produced a formula which will maintain the security of the port while allowing local angling club members to fish.

"The new arrangements have now received the full endorsement of a meeting of representatives of the Merseyside-based sea angling clubs and have now to be ratified by the port authority.

"Once all elements of the arrangements have been put in place the process for local club anglers will involve individual members being issued with a personal pass under the new ISPF port security code.

"Established advanced booking arrangements and restrictions will continue to apply to other clubs and groups."

neilhodgson@liverpoolecho.co.uk 0151 472 2488

<<Liverpool Echo -- 03/16/06>>