THE Angling Trust and the Avon Roach Project have been fully explaining why they want your help to try and control the numbers of fish-eating cormorants.
The Angling Trust and the Avon Roach Project have joined forces to encourage anglers everywhere to help curb the UK cormorant menace.
They want the issue sorted, once and for all, by anglers responding to the Government’s consultation on the General Licence to shoot birds.
This currently permits the shooting of ten bird species which are identified as pests.
But it currently excludes cormorants. That means only a limited number can be shot under a special licence after first proving they are causing damage in a specific area.
The rise of the UK cormorant population, and the damage they cause to fish stocks, is of ever increasing concern.
Reports by the two organisations illustrate how cormorant numbers in the UK have increased from 2,000 in the 1980s to a current over-wintering population of more than 62,000.
These are estimated to consume a staggering and unsustainable 3,020,100 lb of fish every year.
This burgeoning number is mainly made up of a European sub-species which prefer living and hunting inland in the fresh water of our rivers, streams and lakes.
And, with each bird requiring at least one pound of fish every day, the level of conflict with fisheries is immense.
Angling Trust on UK cormorant control
Martin Salter, head of policy at the Angling Trust, is a long-time campaigner for UK cormorant controls.
He said: “The cormorant is an apex predator, unmatched in nature and is unquestionably one of the biggest threats to the health of our inland fish populations.
“We have pushed hard for a review of the current woefully inadequate, restrictive and inflexible licensing regime, and now, finally, we have the opportunity to achieve the changes we seek and to better protect our fisheries.
“Currently Natural England only allow a maximum of 3,000 cormorants to be shot each year and given they often only permit individuals to shoot three, even that total is never actually reached, so currently this is hardly even putting a small dent in the problem.
“The Wild Birds General Licence Survey runs until December 5 and we need responses from as many people as possible.
“All the background evidence and material is on the Angling Trust website along with guidance notes to help with completing the survey.
“If you don’t participate this time around please don’t complain if nothing gets done!” Martin concluded.
Roach Project says UK cormorant control is ‘vital’
Trevor Harrop established the Avon Roach Project in response to the species almost being eradicated on the Hampshire river over a decade ago.
He’s backing the UK cormorant control effort, which requires more anglers to fill in the survey before the December 5 deadline.
Trevor said: “We have campaigned for many years to have the cormorant licensing law changed to enable a more realistic level of protection of our inland fish populations from one of the greatest conflicts they face.
Trevor continued: “We now have the chance to influence the long-awaited review and it is vital that angling apathy doesn’t allow this opportunity to pass.
“This is likely to be the best and maybe the last opportunity we’ll get to make the difference we have all been banging on about for years.
“I have worked my socks off for more than a decade helping to reinstate a healthy population of roach into the Hampshire Avon.
“I now strongly urge everyone to take part in the online survey to assist the continued recovery of our rivers, streams and lakes,” Trevor added.
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