Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Should River Wildlife Have a Vote ?

I was approached by a gentleman the other day who declared that I was doing myself no favours by calling for a harbour fishing Ban. He read the local paper and remarked that he himself had fished in the harbour as a child and it was common sense to pull the line from the water if the swans came near. I agreed with him, but pointed out that not everyone has common sense! I understand the feelings of people who have enjoyed their childhood pastimes and are nostalgic about those days. I also understand that we live in a different world now with everything being expendable with a throwaway culture and society. Scotland has a Litter problem compared to many other European countries, some of which are so clean you could eat your meals from the streets ! The Nairn shore has also changed dramatically, and in years gone by I am told you could dive off the start of the east pier because there was little sand. Fishing tackle especially nylon line is now plentiful and comparatively cheap as to when I was a boy, and some kids are so used to throwing away everything combined with a littering culture. This makes it more dangerous for the wildlife, especially at the entrance to the harbour where there is an obvious blind spot for child anglers. I notice on a local Blog "the gurn" they have an ongoing poll on whether there should be a fishing ban in the harbour area. Since the swans and ducks are likely to be at the sharp end of any hooks and tackle, and they are waterbirds with a right to be there. Perhaps it's only fair that they too have a vote on whether there should be a ban on fishing at the harbour entrance ?

As their self appointed proxy voter I would like to cast 150 yes votes for the swans and ducks ! All too often everything is judged in human terms exclusively for humans - to the detriment of other deserving native species. When the opposite side of the harbour entrance was commandeered and fenced off, fishing from that side disappeared - we heard no gurn, saw no poll or outcry about that ?

I consider rivers to be the veins and arteries of the planet and should be kept as clean as possible. With the new recycling bins issued to everyone there should be no plastic bottles and cans in the river and harbour. Schools should be very strict on litter, and the kids should be taught until it's second nature not even to drop a sweetie paper !

I am not in the business of doing myself favours and frankly I am not a people person, I have more in common with the river wildlife. The Town and humanity would be the poorer if we lose our appreciation and respect for the river and it's wildlife.

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