Fishermen block disabled access at Little Beach jetty

WAITING: Bruce Harrison at the Little Beach disability ramp. Picture: Stephen Wark
WAITING: Bruce Harrison at the Little Beach disability ramp. Picture: Stephen Wark

A NELSON Bay man who developed a blood infection after being hooked by a fisherman while swimming off the Little Beach jetty is looking to make the Port's only disabled access ramp to the water safe again.

Bruce Harrison, an amputee, was hooked on the back of his remaining leg by a fisherman in November after diving into the water from the disabled access ramp.

The ramp is the only one of its kind in the Port allowing disabled people direct access into the ocean.

He pulled the hook out and thought he would be fine but later developed a blood infection which has left a permanent lump where he was caught.

While he is not angry about the incident, he wants the Port Stephens Council and Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park to ban fishermen from casting from the access ramp.

"I've been in touch with the council and the marine park," Mr Harrison said.

"The council say it's their [own] facility, their asset but what the marine park has said it is the absolute reverse."

A letter to Mr Harrison from the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park's manager, Luke Erskine, said fishing is permitted from the wheelchair access jetty.

"In accordance with the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning Plan 2007, recreational line fishing is permitted from the wheelchair access jetty, or the Little Beach Jetty," Mr Erskine said.

However, Mr Harrison said information he has received from the council indicated fishing was not allowed from the ramp.

Either way, Mr Harrison said at the moment the ramp was not usable with fishermen blocking the walkway.

He said many disabled residents were denied access to the Port's water because of it.

Mr Harrison was to talk with the Port Stephens Council this week to discuss the issue of banning fishermen from the jetty.

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