Pike anglers have made their feelings known as safety measures to protect the River Thurne from toxic silt are exposed as a sham.
Officials claimed silt screens would prevent prymnesium algae spores escaping from Heigham Sound into the river, as contractors began test dredging.
But pike anglers who have visited the site have photographed gaps in the screens which could allow material to pass through into the river.
“The silt control is disastrous,” one told the PAC, as pictures were released of the screens. “It looks pretty from a distance, but they’ve just tied it together. They’re supposed to have Velcro over the ropes.”
Norfolk pike anglers, led by the Norwich and District Pike Club, have opposed plans to dredge shallow areas of the Thurne around Heigham Sound.
Officials hope to use material removed from the river to reinstate an island which once stood near the mouth of nearby Duck Broad.
But anglers fear the dredging will release prymnesium trapped in the silt, leading to a repeat of major fish kills which happened on the shallow Upper Thurne system during the last century, all but wiping out fish life in parts of the river.
Recognised as one of Britain’s most historically-important pike fisheries, the tidal river and its network of reed-lined meres and broads have produced a string of 40lbs-plus pike over the last 20 years, including two fish which have held the record, before the Broads were eclipsed by trout fisheries in the bigh fish stakes.
Yesterday, banners calling the Broads Authority environmental vandals appeared across Norfolk, including opposite the BA’s HQ on the outskirts of Norwich.
Conservationists in the area have not always been sympathetic to pike anglers, but many fear the consequences for birds and even otters if prymnesium gains a foothold in the system.