Impacts on other shore users
In many areas where there are a
number of public uses of the shore, bait digging
is unpopular with local authorities because of the
potential conflicts with the use of public amenity
beaches and the mooring or launching of vessels
in the intertidal. Unfilled holes dug by bait diggers
remain obvious for long periods and may be thought
unsightly. Soft sediments that accumulate in these
trenches are considered to be a public hazard; they
may trip people walking on the beach or playing
in the sea, or horse riders, causing injury. There
can also be concern that digging will undermine
sea walls or other coastal structures. In harbours,
bait digging among small boats has been implicated
in the undermining of moorings and damage to boats
that become stuck in holes at low tide. Boat owners
wading out to their craft may also be endangered
and there are instances of fishermen and lifeboat
men being unable to launch safely from the beach.
Several local authorities have brought in controls
on bait digging under the Public Health Acts Amendment
Act 1907, Section 82, to prevent danger to the public.
Some Harbour Boards also control this activity.
Bait digging can damage or destroy
archaeological remains on the lower shore.
There is a potential for conflict
to occur between bait diggers who may cause shore
bird disturbance and bird watchers; this is most
likely to occur in nature reserves.