UPDATE: Wash fishing ban to be lifted

Thursday, 4.10pm - The ban on fishing in The Wash is to be lifted as of 5pm today, the borough council and the Food Standards Agency have confirmed.

Borough Council Environmental Health Officer Trevor Darnes said the council had received notication from the FSA that there was no danger to shellfish.

The FSA spokesman said: “We have now completed our risk assessment and are pleased to report that based on the information available to us we have no concerns over shellfish harvested from the Wash being used for human consumption.

“Local authorities have been advised accordingly.”

Thursday, 1pm - A FOOD Standards Agency spokesman has confirmed the ban on fishing in the Wash will remain in place and said it is awaiting further test results.

The spokesman said: “These results will enable us to complete our toxicology report and risk assessment; which form the basis of our advice to local authorities regarding the opening of the Wash for harvesting shellfish.

“We hope to be able to make a decision regarding the Wash as soon as possible, but this depends on how quickly we get the results of the remaining samples. “

Thursday, 12.40am - A BOSTON borough council spokesman has confirmed the ban on fishing in The Wash has not been lifted.

A teleconference was held at 10am between the agencies involved, including Boston Borough Council and following the meeting a spokesman for the council confirmed the temporary closure would remain in place.

A statement from the Food Standards Agency is expected shortly.

Thursday, 9.45am - A MEETING is being held today to discuss the results of tests taken as part of a fishing ban which came into force on The Wash and River Nene yesterday.

A teleconference between Boston Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Food Standards Agency and West Norfolk Borough Council will be taking place at 10am.

A number of samples were taken yesterday, following the deaths of around 4,000 fish after a 5,000 litre pesticides spill near Peterborough.

Local fishermen angry about the decision are hoping they will be able to head out onto the waters again as the ban continues to affect business.

Wednesday, 15.13pm -A FISHING ban brought in on The Wash has been branded ‘scaremongering’ and ‘a farce’ by an association chairman who has been unable to put his cockle boats to work - just five days after the season opened.

The Food Standards Agency has imposed control orders on fish and shellfish caught in The Wash and River Nene yesterday (Tuesday) after the the Environment Agency linked the deaths of an estimated 4,000 fish with a 5,000 litre pesticides spill at Orton Southgate, near Peterborough, at the weekend.

However, Ken Bagley of the Boston and District Fisherman’s Association believes the ban is a step too far and said it that it would take months for the spill to reach the areas his boats go to.

“They think we don’t know about it, they don’t even seem to know it’s 34 miles away from us. It would take months for it to reach us,” he said.

“It’s scaremongering and they have just put 46 cockle boats out of work.”

He added, “It’s a farce, an absolute farce from the food standards agency.”

The cockle season had only opened five days ago and Mr Bagley believes Boston fishermen and the factories which deal with them will lose ‘hundreds and hundreds of thousands’ in business.

He added that the FSA wouldn’t disclose information on who had imposed the controls.

He said: “It’s unreal. I wish they would give us the name of the man from the FSA who did it but they won’t talk to us.”

He was allowed to take in his latest haul, however he could not sell it on and had to store it.

Fishermen are now awaiting the results of tests on samples taken by the Environment Agency and local authorities to decide if the wash would reopen tomorrow.

However, Mr Bagley said he might fish anyway tomorrow, defying the ruling.

A Food Standards Agency statement said: “As a precautionary measure there are control orders in place to prevent gathering of fish and shellfish from the River Nene and The Wash.

“The Food Standards Agency is expecting results today from samples that have been taken by the Environment Agency and local authorities in the potentially contaminated areas.

“Once we have these results we will contact the relevant local authorities and provide further advice on this situation.”

The areas affected by the closure notice are: zone 3, Scotsman Sled, Thief Sand, Breast Sand, North Daseleys, Seal San, South Theif, Training Wall (Cockles); zone 4 north, Heacham South, Heacham North, Hunstanton; zone 4 south, Ferrier Sand, Pandora, Sunk Sand, Stylemans, South Daseleys; zone 5, Training Wall (Mussels).