CHARITY organisation Embryo have been inundated for help in fencing fisheries from otters following a TV feature on the growing problem.
Countryfile ran the segment in its prime-time BBC1 Sunday slot. They interviewed carp breeder Simon Scott and fishery owners about the costs modern day carp stocks and the damage otters can do.
And after the show, Embryo – set up by Korda’s Danny Fairbrass to fence stillwater fisheries at just the cost of materials – could not have been busier.
Project manager Stuart Daborn, 37, said: “We got five to eight phone calls a day for the next few days which would have been two years work but as it is we are booked up till the end of the year.
“We have had calls from every county in the country and I don’t think there will be a water not at threat in the next couple of years.
“I’ve just heard about a mid 40 lb common that had been ottered and another water had just lost a 40 lb and 30 lb mirrors that were 40-50 years old. These carp were behind DIY fences but these are often not good enough, as shown by these deaths,” said Stuart.
Stuart added: “Otters are an apex predator and will go into a stillwater and decimate all the big carp, especially in the winter.
“Badgers can go through chicken wire and otters have a harder bite so we use 2 mm gage wire that is otter-tested and is actually used to keep otters with zoos.
“We provide all the hardware support of staff and specialist equipment including diggers with special attachments for unraveling 200 kg rolls of wire and machines that put in fence poles 1.1 metres into the ground.
“The 2017 calendars are still available at £7.99 and £7 of that goes directly into funding the otter fencing programme,” concluded Stuart.
Major predation problem
Predator Action Group committee member Tim Paisley said: “I missed Countryfile, but I’ve seen the release. Looking at the otter problem in isolation simply does not wash.
“There is a major predation problem, which the PAG is trying to address, via the Angling Trust. The overall damage to the ecology has been our stance all along.
“There is no evidence whatever that our rivers are recovering, or are likely to recover, from the various threats to their well being, which include predation.
“The predation problem covers signal crayfish, cormorants, goosanders, mink and otters, which are being driven into areas they wouldn’t normal prey in (lakes and garden ponds) because of the state of our rivers,” he added.
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