Amongst those present at a meeting kindly arranged by Reg Phillips, were Julian Seaman Harbour Master and Director of Marine Operations at Shoreham Port, David Mitchell & Tim McPherson with several Angling Trust colleagues, our good friend Gee, myself and Tony representing Lisa, local Tackle shops Lagoon, Squires & Prime Angling and a number of interested local anglers.
Julian Seaman advised that numerous complaints had been received from the skippers of vessels entering the port at night when bright white lights illuminated skippers in wheelhouses which temporarily affected their night vision. A complication is that there is a white navigation light on the West Inner Arm. There is no doubt that the closure of the West and East arms to night fishing is a real threat.
Blue lights , which many are already using, are a safe and acceptable option however, it is visiting anglers and anglers whose first language may not be English, not the supportive local anglers that are the problem even with the current signs. It was observed that the current restrictions on Brighton Marina had seen many anglers migrate to Shoreham Arm which added to the problem.
The inescapable solution, from the discussions, was that a gated membership scheme, would be the best outcome going forward. Whilst the fine details are to be decided, essentially to fish the West and East arm( it was agreed that the East has to included in any scheme) you will need to be a member. This will involve a modest fee….in the region of £15 was suggested, which will include a blue headlamp currently being sourced by George from Tronixpro and will be available on site and at the local tackle shops. Membership will give the key code for the gate which will be closed, when not monitored ,from dusk till dawn. Membership will be available at the gate and will have no impact on the casual daylight angling visitor. The position of the gates and design will be determined in discussion with the port authority in due course. It is anticipated that this will be operational before next summer.
Julian Seaman has indicated he is happy to take a proposal on these lines to the next Board meeting on November 16th..
Lisa will be working with Gee local tackle shops and others to formulate that proposal. In addition all will support the initiative for funding of the gates and scheme.
In the short term, again, working with the local tackle shops, a simple sign will be designed, a representation of red/green and white lights with a cross and a blue light with a tick to overcome any language barriers.
We will, as soon as we can, add more detail. Your questions are welcome but ‘we’ may not have all the answers immediately.
It was an excellent meeting and we thank Julian Seaman for his willingness to work with the local angling community to reach a solution that preserves angling on the arms. Likewise, thanks to all those who attended and contributed to the discussion. It was a superb advert for the community working together.
Many asked me to express their thanks to Reg in getting the meeting together and to Julian for taking the time to meet everybody, listen to their views and support a ‘community’ based solution.
I believe this is an excellent result for local anglers, which, with a bit of hard work, co-operation and understanding will preserve fishing on these 2 popular local marks.