The battle of Bucklands Beach

Swimmers and fishermen clash over space

SIMON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013
Bucklands Beach

BATTLE FOR SPACE: The Bucklands Beach Residents Association is asking Auckland Council to enforce a bylaw to move fishermen off the beach.

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Beachgoers and fishermen are clashing for space at a popular East Auckland spot.

Hundreds of swimmers and other recreational users share Bucklands Beach with a string of fishing lines only a few metres apart on hot summer days.

Moves are now afoot to ban surfcasting on the beach but anglers say it is a great fishing spot and they have as much right to be there as anyone else.

Bucklands Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association chairwoman Shirley Warren said her phone has been ringing hot with complaints about congestion and safety.

"It's a real worry because people don't feel they can go out with their children and enjoy the beach.

"At the moment, now, you cannot get out to swim."

Warren said more than 30 fishermen use the beach on busy days.

Residents are also concerned about mess that is left behind.

"There are lots of dogs that have had to be taken to the vets because they've got hooks in them and it costs about $200 to get a hook out," she said.

The association has been making enquiries since last February about what can be done to move fishing off the beach and towards the rocks to the north or the hard stand to the south.

Auckland Council officers have told Warren they will float a bylaw to the council next month.

Half Moon Bay man Richard Chen said the fishing at Bucklands Beach is "brilliant" in summer and he has cast his rod regularly there for many years.
 
He has never seen anyone get hurt and picks up rubbish left behind by less considerate fishermen.

He said the area is not a marine reserve and if people can swim then people should be allowed to fish.

Chen said the council has assured him that if a bylaw is proposed then people will be able to have their say.

Bucklands Beach resident Evelyn Brown is also on the association and said her 21-year-old grandson stood on a hook last summer that was embedded in his foot.

Brown has also heard that boats have been hit by flying sinkers and people cannot use paddleboards.

"They put their rods over their shoulder - those rods are two or three metres long - and then they flick the hooks out after the sinker and it just makes me shudder."

Former Bucklands Beach resident Peter Gregson, who has worked as a volunteer fisheries officer, said fishing was not a problem at the beach.

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