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Environmental Concerns vs 1000 year old Tradition

Fishermen seek to 'conserve' Viking tradition

A Viking fishing tradition is being eradicated by bureaucracy and landowners, fishermen from the Solway Firth have stated. Haaf fisherman practise a 1,000-year-old tradition in which they wade out into the sea with their haaf nets, named after the Norse for sea, to catch salmon and sea trout.

But they claim their fishing rights in the waterway, between north Cumbria aADVERTISEMENTnd Scotland, have been diminished because of a reduction in the number of hours they can fish.

The Environment Agency has introduced measures to increase the number of salmon and sea trout spawning in the Rivers Eden and Esk to meet conservation requirements.

Mark Graham, secretary of the Solway Haaf Netters Association, said: "This is really about business and it hasn't got anything to do with conservation. That's just a load of rubbish."

Two fishermen are seeking a judicial review of the bylaws in the hope of overturning them.

Mr Turner said the fishermen had been called "living archaeology" by admirers and should get protected status.

He said: "It should be the fishermen who are conserved, not the fish. I feel very strongly that something that's gone on for over 900 years is worth fighting for. It's important to people of this area.

"The average age of the fishermen is 60. We had a few young lads starting; it's important it's continued and we can show them what to do."

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Source:Ellesmere Port Standard