The area involved in the scheme is near the fishing-village of Seahouses which stands almost under the walls of historic Bamburgh Castle.
The Fame Islands, a few miles out to sea, were purchased through public subscription by the National Trust in 1924. The islands are preserved as a bird sanctuary. It is on this ground that the National Trust is making its plea.
It is the opinion of experts that irreparable damage to the sanctuary would result from the disturbance caused by the explosions and noise.
The End of Fishing
The inhabitants of the coast are also worried. The harbour commissioner of Seahouses points out that if the Air Ministry's scheme is carried out the people will be faced with starvation.
Fishing is the staple industry on the coast and bombing will kill the fish in great quantities.
Even now the fisherfolk are suffering from a trade depression brought about by the increase in the number of steamtrawlers, which are able to undercut them in the Price of fish. If the bombing scheme goes through it is said that they will have to migrate to another part of the Coast.
Damage to Bird Life Bombs exploding along the shore in shallow water will kill millions of fish. Indirectly this will have a disastrous effect on the bird-life as most species of fowl in these parts are dependent on a diet of small fish which are more sensitive to the lethal qualities of water vibrations than larger fish.
The deadliness of high explosive under water is if anything greater than in the air or on the ground. There is little danger of fish being hit by the bombs or by particles of exploding bombs. It is the vibration of the water caused by the explosions that supplies the lethal dose.
Hunter's Story A big-game hunter has told how he once killed an 80Ibs. fish by shooting at it with an elephant-rifle. The fish which was some way under water when fired at came to the surface without so much as a scratch and the hunter states that on working-out how much his aim was deflected by the refraction of the water, he calculated that the bullet could not have passed within less than eight inches of the fish's head. Nor was his bullet an explosive one.
It can be guessed from this illustration how much damage could be inflicted by the explosion of, say, a 500Ibs. bomb in the midst of a shoal of fish.
Effect on Tweed Salmon The Salmon Conservancy Board has also joined in the protest. The board contends that salmon which are in the habit of entering the River Tweed in the spring converge on the coast and pass through the area which is subject to bombing under the Air Ministry's scheme.
Thus not only is the very life of the people who live on the coast in jeopardy but birds and fish are also in danger of being exterminated completely from one of the few remaining parts of the country that have not so far been forced to change with the times.
An alternative site for the bombing scheme is at Du.-Wdge Bay, and it is thought that here, some twenty miles south of Holy Island, bombing practice could be carried out with far less damage.