Pike anglers are set to meet with water officials in a bid to save fishing on a historic reservoir.

 

Essex and Suffolk Water (ESW) wants to increase the size of Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, so safeguard supplies to drought-hit Essex.

 

But pikers face being excluded from the lake for at least five years while work is being carried out.

 

And conservation groups like Natural England – formerly English Nature  – and the RSPB have made it clear they would rather fishing did not resume once the scheme is completed.

 

ESW is meeting representatives of local anglers and PAC members on Tuesday, November 7. The firm has also said it is prepared to meet the PAC to discuss our concerns.

 

We are determined to keep fishing on Abberton, a historic water where drifter fishing and unhooking mats first saw the light of day.

 

ESW sent the following to the PAC in response to a request made under freedom of information laws:

“As set out in our previous response Essex & Suffolk Water and their advisers met with English Nature on 28 July 2006 to discuss a number of issues concerned with Abberton Raising, including fishing on the raised reservoir. Representatives from the RSPB were also at that meeting.

 

As promised in the previous correspondence set out below is an extract from the agreed minutes of that meeting that concerns fishing on the raised

reservoir:

 

„CG [Chris Gibson of English Nature] agreed that he is happy in principle with the provision of fishing ponds, and both he and RSPB would like to see the designs once ESW is happy with them.

 

CG pointed out that shooting of cormorants would not be allowed in response to complaints from anglers.

 

As agreed at the recent meeting with the fishermen at Abberton Reservoir, MD [Miranda Davis, ESW] raised the issue of fishing from Layer Breton causeway either during or after construction of the raised reservoir with CG.

 

CG advised that EN [English Nature] would not want to see fishing either during the construction period, or during the establishment period for the new reservoir and habitat.

 

CG advised that the establishment period would be that time until the bird numbers at the site have settled down at or in excess of existing levels. At that point, they (EN) would be prepared to consider the re-establishment of fishing at Abberton at a location to be identified having regard to the SPA citation. CG felt that would be at least 5 years post raising of the reservoir.

 

CG and CT [Chris Tyas of RSPB] both advised that they would need to understand more about how the birds and fish use the raised reservoir before agreeing whether fishing could occur and, if so, where.”

 

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