DOLPHINS could hold the key to solving the otter crisis threatening fish stocks in UK rivers and lakes at a fraction of the cost of fencing.

An underwater audible deterrent has been invented to deter dolphins from approaching monofilament fishing nets, in which many become entangled and die.

Tests have shown that the ‘pinger’ devices do not affect fish, and have no harmful affects, but cause dolphins to avoid the area.

One angling club in Cornwall that has had problems with otters taking their fish is planning to use the deterrents, having contemplated fencing but been put off by a £140,000 cost estimate.

The club is cautious about discussing the move for fear of attracting the attention of animal rights extremists and otter lovers and so suffering reprisals.

But they are considering whether to go public on an anonymous basis, to help other clubs suffering similar otter attention and looking for an affordable solution.

For the full story and reaction from the Angling Trust, read this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine.