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Harbour History

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History of Fishing in the Harbour

Fishing in Christchurch Harbour and its rivers is undoubtedly of enormous antiquity. Boat-fishing-harboutReference has been made to a Royal Fishery at Christchurch in 939AD and there was a very valuable salmon fishery in the Middle Ages when the fishing was the property of the Lord of the Manor. The title of Royalty Fishery was conferred by Royal Grant in the reign of Queen Mary and renewed by Elizabeth I, it having devolved to the Crown by forfeiture for treason. From the Queen it was sold back to Lord Huntingdon and back to the Lord of the Manor of Christchurch in 1791.

In 1865 the Fishery was purchased by a Mr Thyrwit Walker and in 1929 it was purchased by the then West Hampshire Water Company. Ownership of the Fishery also gave them registered title of two thirds of the harbour together with the tidal reaches of both rivers Avon and Stour.

We believe the Crown retained the bottom third of the harbour as an anti smuggling measure, and fishing rights in this section of the harbour are currently open to everyone.

Current Management Arrangements

Sunset-HarbourThe Royalty (Avon) Fishery is currently leased to Southern Fisheries and its boundary stretches from the Alder Bush above Knapp Mill as far as the confluence of the two lower sections of the Lower Avon. The small remaining section of the lower Avon to the confluence with the Stour, together with the Lower Stour from the boundary of the lower limit of the Throop fishery is now directly managed by Sembcorp Bournemouth Water  and Ringwood and District Anglers Association, as is two thirds of Christchurch Harbour to the Sembcorp Bournemouth Water border marked by yellow buoys between the Saltings and Inver Avon.


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