See the Mail on Sunday 2nd November 2014 it states that the RSPB takes £5,000,000 (yes five million pounds) per year of charitable income every year to fund it's pensions black hole, It has had to pledge nearly half of it's reserves, £56 million as security for the fat cats pensions, lets hope they default, It is undemocratic, It shoots deer and foxes, It supports wind turbines that mash up birds, (i can think of a few places to site these) at least I can say with certainty that I never voluntarily paid any of my money to their pensions, FAIR PENSIONS FOR ALL! I bet a lot of donators to the RSPB wish that they had a pension coming that will be equivalent to what the RSPB big wigs get, I know I do.

Well done to sir Ian Botham for pointing all of this out

Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: It came as some surprise last weekend to find that Queen musician Brian May had been leasing the stalking rights on his land. The news was broken by the Sunday Times, who found that he was receiving payments of £750 a year for the right to shoot deer on his Middlemarsh estate. Many other papers picked up on this story because of its significance since Dr May has become a figurehead of the animal rights movement. 

This is more than just irony. Brian May is the self styled saviour of animals. Not a TV, radio or newspaper interview is complete without the obligatory comment from him "standing up" for the animals. He has vehemently opposed any form of culling, but was most vocal in the recent case of the proposed badger cull. The fact that a millionaire rock star raised his own dwindling profile at the expense of dairy farmers on the brink of collapse and bankruptcy is hard enough to accept. The fact that he did this having profited from a deer cull on his own land is indefensible. Dr May stood shoulder to shoulder with the RSPCA and other animal rights groups to oppose the badger cull at all costs, including boycotting milk from already pressed farmers. As I reported last week, he also endorsed the policy that would make public the names of all those involved in culling, regardless of the consequences. In a cruel twist of poetic justice, May has been the one whose name was made public for allowing shooting to take place on his land.

Now the tables have been turned, Brain May appears to prefer secrecy about what happens on his own land. The word hypocrite hardly does justice to the level of duplicity displayed, but at least he must start to comprehend how the affected farmers feel

This is part of an article that appeared in the Daily Mail Feb 2015 regarding Countryfile, badgers and the Royal Society for the Protection of Some birds

In a recent programme, a wildlife photographer tried to draw the attention of presenter Adam Henson to the damage done to lapwings (common plovers) by foxes. But Henson immediately changed the subject as if the predator problem hadn’t been mentioned.

No one has been more vocal in trying to draw attention to the devastation being wrought on other forms of wildlife by the predator explosion than Cambridgeshire farmer Robin Page, whose Countryside Restoration Trust has shown how proper farmland management, including control of predators, can produce a dramatic return of wildlife, from birds to butterflies.

But when he appeared on Countryfile to explain this, it seemed the intention was to portray him as someone wanting to destroy our beautiful birds of prey. Any references to how sensible control of their numbers can promote the survival of many other birds seem to have ended up on the cutting room floor. And when the RSPB recently boasted about how one of its bird reserves had shown a dramatic increase in species such as lapwings and snipe, it took dogged research by Robin Page to unearth the fact that the RSPB had only managed this by its local warden’s strict control of predators.

But the same kind of ‘environmentalist’ make-believe has taken hold of many once respected institutions. One might expect the RSPB to be vociferous in protesting at how many birds (and bats) are killed each year by the spinning blades of our 4,500 giant wind turbines. But it has become so close to the wind industry it even receives a regular income from one of our giant power companies which builds windfarms.

So keen is the RSPB to promote the image of those golden eagles and other iconic birds of prey, many of which are sliced up by the same wind turbines, that it seems never to accept this awkward fact.

In fact, the damage done by predators goes much further than just to ground-nesting birds. One of the saddest losses to our countryside in recent years has been the 90 per cent decline in the number of hedgehogs — caused not least by the fourfold increase in the number of badgers, for whom hedgehogs are a favourite delicacy.

When Countryfile filmed one of our leading hedgehog experts, Rebecca Willers of the Shepreth Wildlife Park, she was allowed to mention how many hedgehogs were killed on roads and how they suffered by a loss of traditional habitat such as hedgerows, but no comments about the hugely destructive part played by badgers made the broadcast.

In this sentimentalisation of predators, from badgers and foxes to red kites, Countryfile is simply lining up with the ‘environmentalists’ and animal rights campaigners who run our powerful green lobby groups, including, alas, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. When it came to that contentious badger cull and the disaster being inflicted on our dairy herds by the runaway epidemic of TB caught from our exploding badger population, TV in general invariably liked to show us only healthy animals gambolling outside their setts.

We never saw those thousands of sickly badgers facing a prolonged and painful death from a disease which each year forces the slaughter of tens of thousands of cattle. When dealing with the harsh realities of ‘nature red in tooth and claw’, the BBC is happy to have David Attenborough giving a breathy commentary in faraway Africa. But the colossal damage done to many forms of wildlife in Britain by our vastly increased numbers of badgers and other predators is not on the Countryfile agenda.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

One of the many European cormorant reports

This 68 page report which I found goes into a lot of supposed reasons as to why we have this problem with these vermin birds but at no point does it mention the number of nature reserves (safe havens) that have been created, over the last 40 years so there is no way that even if all protection was removed we could return to the acceptable low numbers of cormorants of the 1970's they must have spent god knows how much money on this report have a look and judge for your self

This is one of the dozens of reports that have come out and although this one does at least confirm some of the damage that is being done the conclusions are the same as all the other reports "more research is needed" Question, how many bloody reports do we need before action can be legally taken? This is just another delaying tactic by european birdwatchers, we don't need another bloody report after nearly 20 years of them, we need a cartridge fund!

I found this on the wildfowl.wwt website,

Cormorants may reduce biodiversity in a number of ways. They compete with herons for nest sites in trees, and with gulls Larus sp. and Common Eiders for nest sites on the ground (Veldkamp 1997). Competition with other piscivorous animals for food through depredation of fish populations is common (see Russell et al. I 996 and Veldkamp 1997 for reviews).

Cormorants may also depredate rare species of fish (Veldkamp 1997) and locally scarce birds, such as the chicks of Common Tern Sterna hirundo (T. Appleton pers. comm.).

They can destroy nesting trees within a few years through faecal deposition and collection of nesting material (Ekins 1996; Veldkamp 1997) while deposition of guano can cause severe eutrophication and increased concentrations of the food poisoning bacterium Escherichia coli in waterbodies at breeding colonies (Veldkamp 1997).

It is well known that Cormorants are carriers of certain fish parasites, such as the trematodes Diplostomum spp. and Posthodiplostomum cuticula, the cestode Ligula intestinalis, and the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium spp. (McCarthy et al. 1993). The last two are known to cause gross pathological and physiological changes in their fish hosts (Hoole 1994).

As Cormorants selectively capture fish infested with parasites, such as Ligula (van Dobben 1952), their migratory habits make them an ideal vector for parasite transmission.

Cormorants are also known to carry Newcastle disease, a viral infection which can devastate commercial poultry stocks. Mass mortality of over 10,000 Cormorants, White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus and gulls in the Great Lakes in 1992 was attributed to Newcastle disease from Cormorants (Glaser et al. 1996) and this strain of the disease has also been isolated from free range turkeys in the USA (D. Alexander pers. comm.). In the UK, an outbreak of Newcastle disease among poultry in northern Scotland between 1949 and 1951 was thought to have been transmitted by Cormorants (MacPherson 1956) and it has been suggested that a recent outbreak amongst poultry in south-west England may have been spread by migratory birds (D. Alexander pers. comm.). The strain involved had previously been isolated from Goosanders in Finland. Despite the potentially serious implications of the Cormorant’s role in the spread of disease, the main reason why the species came into conflict with man has been its actual, and perhaps more importantly its perceived, impact on fisheries.

Whilst there is little evidence of significant depredation of fish stocks in Britain and Ireland (this is bulshit they don't want there to be any evidence so they won't find it) Ed,

Cormorants can depredate significant amounts of stocked fish at inland fish farms and still waters. For example, Cormorants reduced carp populations at one fish culture site in the Netherlands by some 70% over the course of a year (EIFAC 1988) and in Germany wintering Cormorants consumed more than 95% of whitefish in an eight hectare gravel pit (EIFAC 1994). In addition to the direct problems of depredation of fish stocks,

Cormorants also cause economic impact through fisheries changing stocking practice to try to alleviate depredation and damage. This includes stocking fish at many points simultaneously rather than bulk stocking at one point, trickle stocking across lakes from boats rather than from the shore and, most importantly, regularly changing stocking points to prevent Cormorants from learning where fish are stocked.

(It doesn't matter what method of stocking is done, if the fish are under 3lbs the birds will get them eventually) Ed,

Some fisheries have also begun stocking larger, and thus more expensive, fish which are able to evade Cormorant attacks. For example,following a study of fish damage at Hanningfield Reservoir, Essex, which showed that fish heavier than 800g showed no injuries from Cormorants, (I dont believe this bit, 800gram is 1.763 pounds, less than a pound and a half, plenty small enough to be eaten whole by cormorants, two and three quater pounds is about the smallest that can survive but even then this size fish will be stabbed and damaged) Ed. Essex and Suffolk Water Company began stocking fish at and above 800g (C. Hopkins pers. comm.). The perceived impact of Cormorant predation may also cause economic loss at inland fisheries through anglers’ perceptions that Cormorants are responsible for reduced angling catches, or for unsightly injuries to the fish. For both reasons, fishermen may avoid fisheries with high numbers of Cormorants (its not a percieved reduction in catches it's a total wipe out of fish under 3lbs in weight) Ed.

This includes all Dace, all Roach and Rudd, almost all Perch and Grayling, all Gudgeon and Ruffe, ninety percent of Crucian Carp, Wild Brown Trout and endangered Eels Lampreys and all Salmon Smolts, seventy percent of Chub, Barbel Zander and Bream, and at least fifty percent of Pike, although many pike starve to death because they can't get enough to eat when the cormorants have been visiting, Dace and Salmon smolts are particularly vulnerable because ther migrate from potentially safer areas to more open water. All of these fish are supposed to be breeding to feed other fish eating birds.

  This was writen by Hugh Miles on the Wimbourne Angling Club website


I have been a mad keen roach angler since childhood, which given their recent dramatic decline, is not such a good choice. Or is it just that I’m a sad old git, remembering the ‘good old days’ when the River Stour was full of big roach? We have all seen the large number of cormorants arrive and our catches decline but were my impressions and that of my friends and fellow roach anglers true?

I felt that an analysis of the club’s match results might provide some facts and with the help of our match secretary Jim Finch and a few days number crunching, I came up with this graph and like so much of TV these days, it doesn’t make good viewing.

As the attached notes make clear, the recent declines have to be seen in a time when EA surveys in the mid nineties revealed that the fish biomass in the Stour was already reduced to a quarter of it’s historic quantity. Some of this was due to the 95% decline in the nations eel population but habitat loss due to dredging and recent reductions in river flows and pollution incidents must have contributed to the widespread declines. Above all, I feel we must get off our butts, find a way to control cormorant predation and create more good habitat, something that the much maligned EA have been busy doing these past few years.

The EA will be carrying out fish surveys throughout the Stour this summer and particularly along the badly effected Wimborne reaches, so let’s hope they find the roach are still there and it’s just us who can’t catch them!

I for one won’t be holding my breath but in the meantime, the Avon Roach project has raised a 16,000 signature petition and the Angling Trust, among many have been busily lobbying the Minister, Richard Benyon in the hope that he will have the courage to change the laws protecting cormorants. [Attached is a pic. of our petition handover to the Minister close to Parliament].

Fingers crossed that if everybody joins the Angling Trust and they become a force to be reckoned with, we will give our fish a chance to prove once again that nature has wonderful powers of recovery.

Hugh Miles.



Once one of the finest roach fisheries ever ; anglers travelled from all over England :

- In 1966, largest recorded catch was 109 lbs of roach in 6hrs to Owen Wentworth.

- In 1960’s he also had catches of 54lbs, 66lbs, 70lbs, and 72lbs.

- In 1970’s many catches to 63lbs including many two pounders.

- In 1980’s frequent catches between 30lbs and 50lbs with two pounders common.

- A few miles upstream, 3lb roach were caught reasonably often, culminating in the then British record of 4lb 3ozs.

Match records at Wimborne incomplete until 2001 – attached is a summary of the only complete run of results - from Feb 2001 to Jan 2011.

Based on similar criteria to the BTO’s Constant Effort Sites Surveys : matches were held on the same stretch of river on roughly the same dates each year, about six five hour matches each winter fished by similar numbers of very good river anglers.

Figures based on average weight per angler.

Catches started to decline in the ‘90’s when at least 5 cormorants were hunting the stretch together. The largest recorded roach they killed weighed 2lb10ozs, left to die.

The club stopped re-stocking the stretch with roach in 2009 due to the excessive cormorant predation. Initially, the cormorants were frightened off by walkers on both sides of the river, but they soon became habituated and don’t even flee from boats.

Two breeding pairs of Gt.Cr.Grebes have left the area and the perch have gone too. There has been no noticeable increase in human disturbance and virtually nil anglers.

There is no evidence that the fish have moved somewhere else.

Matches ceased in 2011 because only minnows could be caught. Since then, anglers who have tried cannot catch any roach – not one.

Busy for decades, the local angling shop has recently closed.

EA surveys during 1992 and 1998 throughout much of the River Stour proved that the fish biomass had fallen by three quarters during this six year period. The survey is to be repeated this year with particular attention paid to the Wimborne reach.

Total weight of the clubs match catches during the ten year period was 2,202lbs.

If the scientifically accepted total of 23,000 over-wintering cormorants do require a pound of fish a day, then they could eat the total catches of ten years of matches in just a few hours … an alarming scenario. However, over this period, it seems that the nightmare might have come true. For whatever reasons, the fishery has died.


This piece was printed in the Angling Times 1st Feb 2005 written by Keith Arthur.

I am sure you will have read or heard about the RSPB's latest press release, in which it claims thet there are only 3,145 pairs of cormorants nesting in England.

Of course it got the body on at least two BBC radio chanels on the day it came out of embargo.

I'll wager that if there is an official angling riposte it won't make the beeb anywhere... but then again who will officially make the reposte? The Salmon & Trout Association might, but the toothless tigers of the NFA, including the SAA, seem to be good at venting spleen within angling, but I have seen little outside, in the big media world - my own TalkSPORT programme excepted, of course.

So if we can take the RSPB's LAUGHABLY low figure, obviously tailored by it to look good and start to crunch some of it's numbers we can still make an excellent case for protecting the natural indigenous fish species of our waters.

By the way, the RSPBseems to completely overlook the 16,000 over-wintering - it's numbers again doctored down in my view - maybe these birds are all on vegan diets!

Every number from here on in is taken from the RSPB website page on cormorants.

Breeding pairs: 3,145 = 6,290 birds, average lifespan 23 years this would indicate an anual mortality rate of 273. Average number of eggs per pair, three to four. Now let's err seriously on the side of caution and say that just one chick reaches maturity. Thats 3,145 NEW cormorants in year one. So now we have an equation (6,290 - 273) + 3,145 = 9,162. The DEFRA legislation allows a MAXIMUM of 2,000 birds to be shot, so lets be really silly and say this achives a 100 per cent take up of licences and a 100 per cent success - both of which are on the impossible side of unlikely. That makes the next sum 9,162 - 2,000 = 7,162, a net increase of 872 cormorants.

Of course, these numbers will compound every year, so in year two DEFRA should raise the number of licensed cormorant deaths by 15 % simply to keep pace. Would a member of the RSPB like now to justify it's complaints.

Having just re-read what I have written, I am hopping mad that Angling, or those in control haven't made a similar calculation and gone public - that is personally contact all editors who ran with the RSPB's claims in the first place. It isn't my job, I've lots else to do, but we actually pay people to run our sport. Not much I agreeand I'd love to pay them more but, having seen coarse fishing sold right down the river on the lead shot issue 20 years ago you'd have thought we'd have learned.

NB The UK is the only country in the world that lead fishing shot is banned in. ED.

What we should be doing, as a sport, is paying a research team to investigate the real cormorant menace, rather than rely on the only figures available, which are the RSPB's. once we'd got some real numbers and actual stastics of stock depletion on fisheries of all kinds, we should go on the attack and make demands.

Back to home page