Firstly, we would like to extend to you a warm welcome to our new POLSAF web site, and to tell you a little bit about our origins. In 2004 two Liverpool sea anglers, Steve Davies and Dave Irvine, were arrested by MDHC police for, allegedly, “fishing without permission”, and a fishing ban was imposed on us by the then owners, MDHC.
The case went to South Sefton magistrate’s court, where the two anglers were found guilty with each of them incurring a substantial fine: and, as the alleged offence fell under the “Criminal offences” category, we had the ridiculous situation of two anglers being fined hundreds of pounds, and now having a “criminal record”, just for going fishing!
After much legal “to’ ing and fro’ing”, the case went to appeal in the Liverpool Crown court, where the “guilty”verdict was reversed: and, Steve and Dave walked out of the court with their characters clean again! However, we were still left with the fishing ban that the current owners of the Liverpool dock system, Peel Ports, had inherited from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.
The reason given to justify this was, as the memories of the 9 – 11 terrorist attacks; and, as this was still fresh in everybody’s minds; and, in view of the fact that the ISPS international agreement had been signed up to by Tony Blair’s government, and because Peel Ports had some genuinely held fears about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the Port of Liverpool Facilities, the fishing ban remained!
It was decided that, if we wanted Peel Ports to listen to us, then we had to listen to them, (because that’s what negotiations are all about). So, in January 2006, an initial meeting was set up at Bootle Town Hall with representatives of Peel Ports, with Ian McKay and Jack Colbert, a local councillor who is also a sea angler, representing the interests of our local sea anglers. Subsequently, a series of meetings followed, and eventually a 19 point agreement was negotiated to enable local sea anglers to regain their historic rights to fish into the river Mersey from the dock walls again, and also to satisfy Peel Port’s, not unreasonable, security concerns.
As a result of these meetings, it was decided to create a regulatory body which was to be called the Port of Liverpool Sea Angling Federation, ( POLSAF for short ), which would make sure that anglers abided by the rules that had been agreed with Peel Ports. All local sea fishing clubs were informed, about the features of the 19 point agreement, and they were invited to become affiliated to POLSAF.
Each club would appoint its own representative, from within the ranks of their own club members, and these club representatives would attend the regular POLSAF meetings, and report back to their own individual clubs. This arrangement would make sure that all the clubs who chose to become affiliated to POLSAF, would be kept in the picture at all times, via their own club rep’s.
The original agreement with Peel Ports only gave us back our right to fish the Alexander Dock wall, an 800 metre stretch of the river; however, since then, ongoing negotiations with Peel Ports have resulted in us regaining our fishing rights along the area known as “Seaforth Rocks”, (a great winter hotspot!), and negotiations for more areas are to come.
At POLSAF’s inaugural meeting, July 2006, for the purpose of negotiating with Peel Ports, and other ongoing day to day business, a committee of officers were elected by the people who attended that meeting. At that meeting councillor Jack Colbert was elected to the position of POLSAF chairman, John Rawlinson elected to Hon Secretary, and Ian McKay was elected as deputy chairman.
In September 2009 Jack Colbert resigned due to pressure of council work and Ian Mckay stepped up as Chairman. At the last AGM John was re-elected as Hon sec , Ian was re-elected as Chairman, and a new officer, Eric Thompson, was elected as treasurer.
POLSAF now holds a regular “Fur & Feather” winter fishing competition, and we hope to stage other regular competitions in the near future. So, there you have it, that’s about all there is on the origins of POLSAF! We are a body set up to protect the interests of local sea anglers, and to improve the lines of communication between the current owners of the dock company, Peel Ports, and members of sea angling clubs that are affiliated to POLSAF.
Where, Why and When Polsaf was introduced
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