THE Angling Trust has launched a Cormorant Watch website - and has stepped up its campaign to get the Government to sort out the 'black death' problem.

And there’s more going on, in recognition of the intensive efforts of Angler’s Mail columnist John Bailey in publicising the damage being done by damage to cormorant to wild fish stocks.

Angling Trust campaigns manager Martin Salter has called a high-level meeting with John involved to discuss the issue.

In a letter to environment minister George Eustice, the Angling Trust is demanding a doubling of the number of cormorants licensed to be shot in England annually to 6,000.

It also calls for the relaxing of the requirement for evidence that goosanders are damaging fisheries before a licence will be issued.

It says the new measures are needed to halt the decline in coarse and game fish.

Cormorant issue a big concern to John Bailey

Angler’s Mail columnist John Bailey said: “I relish the chance to get together with the Angling Trust over the cormorant issue.

“I have no doubt that we are staring at a catastrophe for our wild fish stocks and I am completely disillusioned by the efforts of our statutory bodies to deal with the issue.

“We have had long enough to assemble all the evidence necessary, and based on this action we just have to see action.

“There is little point in talking about future action – we need it now and this winter sets in and the problem becomes cataclysmic.

“I will talk and co-operate with anyone who can take action to resolve the problem before its too late.

“There is no point teaching anyone to fish if there are no fish left to be caught,” he concluded.

John Bailey has seen evidence at first hand, and heard from many other people about the real damage being done to fish stocks. Here he’s holding a tench but various species have been hit.

The website Cormorant Watch 2 – found at www.cormorantwatch.com – is where members of the public can record sightings of cormorants, goosanders and red-breasted mergansers and give their roost locations. You can help!

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said: “Stocks of salmon, eels and many river coarse fish have declined dramatically in the past couple of decades and predation from cormorants and goosanders is a key factor.

“UK anglers would like to see Government allow fishery managers greater freedom to control cormorants and goosanders, the population of which would not be at all endangered by our sensible proposals.

“We urge all anglers to record sightings of these birds and their roosts on our easy-to-use Cormorant Watch 2 website so that we can have the evidence to change policy and the way it is implemented throughout the UK,” he added.

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