Fishery owner sues Environment Agency

A FISHERY boss whose carp stock was wiped out by otters before it could open to anglers is suing the Environment Agency for what could be millions of pounds in lost earnings.

Brian Dodson claims the organisation created an otter haven close to his Waen Wen Fishery near Bangor, North Wales, without warning him of potential problems.

The businessman says he lost almost £250,000 worth of carp and had to walk away from the venture before it could open to the public.

Brian, who now lives on benefits, said his legal battle could be a landmark case for fishery owners who feel they were not given sufficient warning about the rising otter population.

“I’m financially devastated by the whole situation, I’m living in abject poverty, but this case could open the floodgates for the rest of the country,” he said.

“I’m not a greedy man and I haven’t put an exact figure on the lost earnings but I just want to be able to retire and put it behind me.”

Brian told Angling Times his battle stems from a 2003 EA initiative to clean up and install otter holts on the River Cegin near the lakes he was creating.

While the agency was advising him on stocking and managing his fishery, Brian claims it breached the Environment Act by failing to warn him about the likelihood of otters settling in the vicinity.

He said: “This work was carried out without prior notice or consultation. The outfall of water from the lakes flowed into the River Cegin not more than three quarters of a mile from Waen Wen Fishery.”

EA Wales spokesman Curig Jones said:  “We are preparing to challenge this claim robustly on all counts.”

The issue will be decided at the High Court in Cardiff on February 25.