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.