SATURDAYS see the good people at The Angling Trust, the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in this country, take over our blog.
Angling Trust chief executive, Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s blog.
We hope you enjoy the blog, and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.
Feel free also to comment by using the special space at the bottom on this page.
CORMORANT DOSSIER OF DESTRUCTION LAUNCHED
AS I HOPE you’re all now aware, the Angling Trust has been campaigning for more than 3 years for a change in the law on cormorants and goosanders. We’re hoping for a decision in the next month or so from the Minister.
To help persuade him and other MPs of the case for change, the Angling Trust has this week published a comprehensive 10,000 word report highlighting the damage done to fisheries and wild fish stocks in the UK as a result of a fifteen fold increase in cormorant numbers over the last 25 years.
The report includes a comprehensive case study on the decline of the Hampshire Avon as a fishery, technical data from recent Environment Agency surveys of fish stocks in a number of key catchments, alarming evidence on the impact of cormorants on the endangered eel population and case studies of unsustainable avian predation from across the country.
The dossier has been sent to Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon and to MPs from all parties who have backed the Angling Trust’s campaign for more protection for fisheries. We launched it with a photocall with Charles Walker MP (Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on angling).
• The Angling Trust has been campaigning for nearly 3 years to change the licensing regime for the control of cormorants and goosanders. As part of this process, anglers have recorded nearly 70,000 sightings of these birds throughout the country in the past year at www.cormorantwatch.org.
• Cormorant numbers have increased since protection was introduced in 1981 via the European Wild Birds Directive. Numbers of over wintering birds, which traditionally were around 2,000 in the sixties and seventies, rose dramatically to 14,554 in 1987/8 and to a peak of 30,188 in the winter of 2003/4 – a doubling of numbers in 6 years and a staggering 15 fold increase in just over 20 years.
• The Environment Agency’s Eel Management Plans submitted to the European Commission under the Eel Regulation has made eels the most protected fish in Europe due to the collapse of their population numbers, yet the plan estimates of the number of eels consumed by cormorants in inland and estuarine waters in England and Wales to be between 29-43 tonnes.
• The number of over-wintering cormorants is currently estimated at 23,000. Each individual bird eats at least one pound of fish every day, which equates to 2,760,000lb of fish lost each winter.
• Numbers have increased by the influx of the migrant European sub-species Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis from mainland Europe.
• The biodiversity of our rivers and still waters is at serious risk from excessive predation from cormorants and goosanders whose numbers have exploded in the last two decades to unsustainable levels.
• Rivers and waterways are failing under the Water Framework Directive and of those failing more than 50% do so due to poor fish stocks. The Angling Trust and Fish Legal are pressing for concerted action on abstraction, pollution and habitat damage, but fish stocks need urgent protection NOW from predation.
• Cormorants and goosanders inflict serious injuries on fish too big for them to eat leaving them vulnerable to disease and death.
• Action is needed now to allow angling clubs and fishery owners to protect their fisheries better and there is a strong case for cormorants to be placed on the general licence giving them the same status as rooks, jays and magpies.
Coarse Fish Conference – it’s coming soon!
The Angling Trust, together with the Rivers Trust, Canal & Rivers Trust, The Foundation for Water Research and The Environment Agency will be holding a one day event on Thursday 9th May at Barston Lakes in the West Midlands to encourage fishing clubs and anglers to get involved with habitat improvement work on their waters.
This will be a daytime event with some fabulous speakers and an emphasis on getting anglers involved in practical work to improve the fish stocks and fishing on the rivers they love.
Limited spaces will be available and the day will include tea and coffee on arrival and a buffet lunch. A full running order of the day and details of how to book will be available soon, but please mark the date in your diary now.
That’s all for this week, remember it’s only £25 a year to be a member of the Angling Trust, less than 50p per week!
THE ANGLING TRUST BLOG RETURNS NEXT SATURDAY MARCH 16.
Remember this lively website has a new blog every day.