CONCERNS have arisen over ‘amateurish’ fishing taking place in Morecambe Bay, which could be putting lives at risk.

Arnside resident and experienced sands walker Colin Berry found evidence of long-line fishing near the channel at Grange.

The practice involves a line with baited hooks attached at several intervals – Mr Berry found 80 of these on a line approximately 50 metres long.

“I had walked out from White Creek Bay to Grange, which I have done for about 40 years, when I came across wooden posts about three feet high and the rest of the equipment,” he said.

“They were not marked, which I checked before removing them from the sands. I told the Coastguard who said they have responded to calls where people (believed to be the fishermen) have been in the area and had left it right to the last minute to move, before the tide came in.

“I moved the line as a safety measure. I take my boat out there and I would not want the hooks to get stuck in it. I also worry for the welfare of persons on cross bay walks and species such as seals and dolphins which have been sighted recently in the area and which may get caught up in these lines.”

Police confirmed the practice was legal but there were bylaws under the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

Chief executive Stephen Atkins said: “One of our bylaws does require gear like that to be marked with the owner’s name visibly displayed or some kind of other identification.

“If anyone finds such things they can contact our office or send us an email.”

Arnside Coastguard station officer Nigel Capstick said the crew were alerted to the issue after members of public had dialled 999 when seeing persons behaving ‘erratically in the channel’.

He added: “The practice could incapacitate a rescue asset such as our rescue jet ski or the RNLI s' hovercraft or inshore lifeboat, as the channel is often used to access the Silverdale and Grange areas.

“The lines involved seem to be made up in an amateurish way and for this reason we suspect it is someone with little knowledge of fishing and the fact that they have been putting themselves in serious harms way would bear this out.

“We would appeal to those involved to cease the practice and take advise on safer methods of fishing.”

For information about the fisheries visit nw-ifca.