A PETITION to parliament calling for the introduction of ‘non-lethal means of control’ of otters attracted over 5,000 signatures within its first 24 hours on the Government website... and has kept growing since.

Devised by the Barbel Society, the petition explains: “Since its assisted re-introduction to the freshwater waterways of the UK, the otter has reached levels of increased population where its presence has become a detriment to the environment affecting most fish species, birds and mammals.”

Barbel Society chairman Steve Pope said: “We are calling on all anglers to get behind the petition demanding action so that something is finally done to control the menace and ensure that we can leave a legacy of decent river fishing for our children.

“We know that otters are not the only reason for the decline in our fish stocks, but the introduction and spread of an apex predator with no natural enemies has proved a tipping point in many places already under pressure.

“There is no doubt the otter can reap havoc to waters. It took stillwaters 20 years to get the protection of otter fencing and our rivers just can’t wait that long for action to be taken to control numbers,” said Steve.

‘General appeal rather than call for specific actions’

Steve continued: “In launching the petition we decided to make it a general appeal rather than call for specific actions to ensure that as many anglers as possible would get behind it and show the strength of feeling on the issue, and the numbers signing initially seems to vindicate this approach.

“We believe the otter should no longer be a protected species but we know that with its false Bambi-like image following the Tarka film, calling for an actual cull might provoke strong opposition, so we stopped short of that,” he added.

Petitions are listed for six months and require 10,000 signatures to receive a written response from the Government and 100,000 to trigger a debate in Parliament. At the time of this story going onto this website, that 10,000 figure had just been reached.

The petition is at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209735

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