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Mussel fishermen are locked in a fight with conservationists over their right to scare birds away from commercial mussel beds in the Wash, a 63,000 bay between the Norfolk and Lincolnshire coasts.

Fishermen argue that eider ducks, in particular, feed on their mussels; the RSPB says that the birds’ right to feed must be protected as they already struggle to survive the winter.

The dispute has led to a public inquiry, which opened on Monday. “Industrial farming on land has devastated wildlife and the same is happening on The Wash,” said the RSPB’s conservation director Mark Avery.

Goska Romanowicz

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