ANGLERS say they are being driven out of Sunderland by a lack of places to fish.
Fishermen from local clubs claim the number of fishing spots has been drastically slashed.
They blame red tape for the clamp- down, which they say is forcing the fishing community out of the city.
Geoff Moon, who runs a coaching company teaching youngsters to fish, said man-made dams are closing off traditional fishing spots.
He said: “They are putting dams all the way up the river. It’s from the Corporation Quay up to Wearmouth Bridge.
“Over by the Glass Centre used to be a free car park but now you have to pay £1.20. They are trying to force out people from where they have fished the river for years.”
Anglers were congregating at the river, said Geoff, after being banned from fishing in Sunderland Port or the nearby Marina and the closure of Roker Pier.
However, he added that an increase in small boats mooring in the Wear means it is often impossible for fishermen to safely cast off their rods.
“There are plans to get all of the pleasure boats out of the South Docks and force them on to the river,” he said.
“We’ve had words with them at the docks, asking why they don’t work with the anglers, why don’t they allow them access.
“But all we get is, they don’t like anglers. It’s not about whether you like anglers, but people who pay rates to the city. It’s still a municipal port.
“People are travelling up to the Tyne and Blyth. They are driving people out of the area because there are no facilities.
“Why can’t they co-exist with the anglers?”
What the council says ...
COUNCILLOR John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Safer City and Culture, said Sunderland City Council actively promotes sea angling and fishing and recently hosted the largest-ever angling competition staged in the region.
He added: “The council is in regular correspondence and contact with individual anglers and clubs to help address their concerns.
“Anglers are free to fish from our award-winning beaches and coastline and large stretches of the river.
“The temporary closure of Roker Pier for repairs is causing inconvenience to some anglers, but we are committed to preserving the safety of all pier users and ask for patience while work continues.
“This commitment to the safety of anglers also extends to the Port estate where a combination of commercial, security, legal and health and safety considerations prohibit access by anglers, who can expose themselves to serious danger and the prospect of criminal charges.
“In efforts to meet needs of boat owners, the Harbour Master has helped relocate craft from the docks to the south side of river between Corporation Quay and Wearmouth Bridge. Here, additional quayside access points and moorings are being provided, while some unauthorised moorings have had to be removed.”