No fishing at Battery Park Pier has fishermen flummoxed

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Fishing pier controversy in New Castle. Alicia Vitarelli reports during Action News at 4 p.m. on June 21, 2017. (WPVI)

There's a brand new million dollar pier in Old New Castle's Battery Park and while it looks like a fishing pier, you can't fish from it.

Action News was on the scene as a New Castle City police officer stopped a man and his son from fishing at the Battery Park Pier on Wednesday.

"It's my first time here. I thought it might be a good place to catch some bass," Bryan Lawhorn of Claymont said.

"I don't know why they made it illegal. They put a deck out here for a reason," Bryan Lawhorn Jr. said.

Robert Thomas of New Castle feels the same way.

Since he saw the no fishing signs on the fishing pier in Battery Park, he's been trying to find out why.

"When they originally filed for their permits to do this, in their lease agreement, it is stated there is fishing allowed - sightseeing, fishing, and other things," Thomas said.

The lease is between the City of New Castle and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources, to put a pier out over the water.

New Castle's City Administrator William Barthel tells Action News: "The city council never intended this to be a fishing pier. It is their understanding that the lease states what can be done on the pier, but does not necessarily dictate what has to be done."

The police officer suggested Lawhorn and his son go about a mile south to the fishing beach in Dobbinsville.

They opted to go home, but people do fish at that beach. You just have to climb over some rocks to do it.

"It's hard to get down. It's all the way around," fisherman Bill Wiggins said.

Thomas thinks people should be allowed to use the Battery Park Pier for fishing.

"I just think people paid to build this pier, hunting and fishing license money may have been used to do that, percentages of it, that they have a right to use this pier," Thomas said.

We asked the Department of Natural Resources if the city of New Castle is violating the lease agreement by banning fishing on the pier.

They're researching and we are awaiting their response.
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