Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fishing Access Fight Across The Pond

An article in today's Wall Street Journal (registration may be required) shows that water access is not just a problem in the U.S. It discusses a fight on the River Blackwater in Ireland, where local fisher folk have gotten into trouble for fishing waters apparently owned by a duke since the time of Sir Walter Raleigh.

At issue is whether the waters are owned by the billionaire 12th Duke of Devonshire, who has a fancy castle and fishing lodge ($4,000 a week to stay there and fish) on the waters, or if the waters belong to the people because the Magna Carta supercedes the Duke's ownership rights. The Duke claims his family has owned and paid taxes on the river for 400 years. The Magna Carta was issued in 1215. This is going to be one heck of a title search.

This flap has something for everyone, including a dam that has been ordered to be removed (the Duke is appealing).

While Teh Wind Knot is rooting for the little guy out of solidarity, this one seems to be a little tougher than Donny Beaver's outrage at the Spring Ridge Club. Perhaps, though, if the Duke loses, we might even be able to get rid of the silly King's Grant restrictions in the U.S. I'm not holding my breath, though.

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