LettersOpinion

Opinion: ‘The pollution can never be rectified’

When we fished and played in Margate Lagoon, it was clean. Nobody got ill and fish thrived.

DEAR Editor,-

From the age of nine years, I developed a love of fishing in the Margate Lagoon, which was clean and swimming there was only natural for holidaymakers and locals alike.

With friends we used bread to fish for mullet and tilapia (known to us as mud bream) and we were always in the water. We progressed and, using cracker shrimp (mud prawn), we landed rock salmon and many spotted grunter.

Many ‘chases’ could be seen, that is – mullet being chased and on two occasions I caught two juvenile garrick in Margate Lagoon. Both were witnessed by my late father and others before the fish were released.

I would say that over the past 30 years this river has steadily become polluted – possibly even longer than that. There is no life in the river.

From the main road (upstream from the robots), streams used to be full of bass – right up to the old Faerie Glen Hotel as it was known in those days.

When we fished and played in Margate Lagoon, it was clean. Nobody got ill and fish thrived. This now remains just a dream to many of us.

With regards to the Uvongo River and Lagoon, we swam there since 1968 and fished below the waterfall until about six years ago when the river became shallower and there were less fish. Kob, perch and rock salmon were regularly caught.

As ‘mad’ youngsters, we jumped off the cliffs and swam up to the waterfall to play with the shrimps and baby eels, which were then abundant in the pools around the waterfall.

We fished on the upper Uvongo River in the early ’70s on canoes, catching different species of tilapia and scalies using flying ants and worms.

Later, bass appeared in the river and over the years the population grew and the scalies disappeared. Subsequently the bass population thrived and large and small ones were caught and released.

Tilapia nests were visible everywhere, but now there doesn’t even appear to be any movement of fish. I have long since heard the cry of the fish eagle or the many Egyptian geese. Who has destroyed this?

We never got sick while swimming and fishing there. Who is responsible for this and how can it ever be rectified? I have lived here for 52 years and only see things going in four-wheel reverse.

DOUG HUTSON

Uvongo

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