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.

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