IRATE anglers have been up in arms about the damage being done to our fishing by mass predation, and have called for urgent action before its too late.

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Author and river fishery owner John Bailey gave a powerful speech about predator issue to the Barbel Society annual show.

The Norfolk-based all-round specialist angler’s words received widespread support from those at the event, and since via social media.

John, a columnist in Angler’s Mail print magazine, explained: “Fish are facing a triple whammy from signal crayfish as eggs, from cormorants as developing fish and from otters when they mature, and our stocks are being decimated.

“I can only talk from personal experience of the River Wensum where whole year groups are being wiped out.

“Two seasons ago I spotted half a dozen shoals totalling at least 500 small barbel in the 4 to 14 oz class, but this year they have totally disappeared and I know the black menace is to blame.

“Last winter on one of my stretches there were well in excess of 100 cormorants roosting every single night.

“Fishery scientists try to tell me the habitat isn’t conducive to renewing fish stocks but the fish are clearly breeding well and the fry are surviving only to then be obliterated. Any that do survive will fall foul of the otters.

“People say there is no silver bullet but there is one which should go right between the eyes of this alien species which now comes over in huge numbers from Europe.

“Action is urgently needed before they return in the autumn and the time for talking is over.

“It is about time that protection of this bird is lifted, or group shooting licences made more easily obtainable and with no limit on the numbers that can be shot.

“Frankly it’s a war which we must win or fishing as we know it will be lost for future generations,” he concluded.

Barbel leader says angling needs to ‘be brave’ for fish

Steve Pope, chairman of the Barbel Society, said, “I’m pleased John Bailey and others have come out so strongly on this issue and we would support everything he said.

“Our recent parliamentary petition about the damage caused by otters was a clear statement of support for the need for action on the furry critters and re-affirmation of our view that they are a serious problem.

“The whole angling industry needs to be brave and face down the anti-angling lobby and animal rights brigade and fight for the Government to take effective action on all predators,” he added.

Carp ace says over-predation is the most damaging factor

Nash Baits guru Gary Bayes, who runs Bayeswater Fishery said: “I totally agree with John that over-predation is far more damaging than any other factor today and needs putting right.

“Some waterways do have other problems but just like John I believe that over-predation is by far the biggest danger to our unfenced, wild waters and its is not going to get sorted unless everyone gets on the same page.

“Re-stocking isn’t an option when there is so much predation,” he concluded.

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