This page is set up in order for you to read any bits of information that I find or are sent to me about this problem. Many of them will have been written by far better writers than me.
One sad tale is the one that I found about the double crested cormorant on Lake Ontario New York, this can be found at http://www.findarticles.com BOAT/US Magazine. I use the term sad because many many fish have been eaten and many more birds have been shot than it would have been necessary to shoot had common sense prevailed in the beginning.
In the Daily mail dated 26 July 2002 on page 5 there is an article about how the hypocritical birdwatchers, including the RSPB are going to try and shoot every ruddy duck in Europe, you will no doubt not be surprised to find out that the UK taxpayer (us), are to fund this cull to the tune of £900,000, this cull is expected to take 10 years! Apparently this cull is necessary because the ruddy duck is not a native bird to Europe and its continued existence in 20 countries is threatening a native species of duck in Spain. As these ruddy ducks were introduced to Europe by birdwatchers should it not be the birdwatchers that fund this cull?
The supporters of this cull are also going for compulsory access to our private waters and will probably get it too! Of course whilst this attempted cull is being carried out not a single illegally introduced cormorant that is threatening our native bird and fish species will be shot.
Schelley. From the Angling Times 30. July 2002.
This endangered fish is a member of the whitefish family and is almost extinct, the fishery officers at Hawswater Lake, Cumbria are now having to shoot all of the cormorants that visit the lake in order to protect this endangered fish from these illegally introduced birds, all other attempts at deterring them having failed.
This article was taken from: The Countryman's Weekly, 23.03.2001.
There can be few sights more thrilling than a wild otter in its natural environment. To see these beautiful predators requires patience on your part, for the otter is a shy creature.
The otter is at the top of his food ladder and has only one natural predator, man. Otters have declined in recent years due to habitat loss ( no habitat, no wildlife ) and the over-use of herbicides and pesticides which have found their way into the waters.
Anglers have more chance than anyone of seeing these elegant creatures. Attempts are now being made to reintroduce otters back into the wild by various wildlife trusts and, although I would like to see the reintroduction of the otter, I have the feelings that the timing is all wrong.
Otters are predators. They kill for food and their diet mainly consists of fish. Otters hunt all species of river fish, especially eels, which they have a liking for.
The otter is a very efficient and successful hunter and, although part of me wants to see its return, I cant help thinking that its not the right time at all.
At present our fish stocks are taking a battering by cormorants, goosanders and mink. Notice how I have not mentioned herons or grebes, as these birds have as much right to be at the waterside as the angler, and the balance is right.
As for the other three, the mink is an import and should not be running wild in this country, for the devastation it can cause has to be seen to be believed. Moorhens voles and ducklings are the first to disappear from a water when this menace makes an appearance.
I have mentioned that the mink is not native to this country. A few have escaped from mink farms and quite a lot have been released by animal rights activists and this has established wild populations in the countryside. Mink are less aquatic than otters, but they are agile and great climbers. Mink often stalk fish from the bank or from overhanging trees. Once whilst fishing in Carrick in Ireland, there were quite a few mink around and night fishing was not worth the bother, as mink became a nuisance. I even heard a rumour of mink attacking keepnets to get to the fish.
Now on to the subject of cormorants: Infamously called the black plague, these birds have played havoc on the inland waterways. Fishery managers up and down the country have seen their fish stocks plummet. Cormorants, actually sea birds, have come inland on lakes reservoirs and rivers, for easy food. Cormorants will now dine on freshwater fish and a number of cormorants can soon strip a small pond fishless.
At present the government is avoiding this matter as the cormorant is a protected species. It is about time that there was a cull to thin out cormorants to create a balance as fish stocks, especially silver fish, are suffering from over predation
A cull is not cruel, it will assure there is enough food to go round for these birds without exterminating the fish, otherwise there will be a dramatic loss of fish and not enough food to go round for the cormorants and goosanders, resulting in starvation leading to disease.
This brings me back to the otter. There is no logic in introducing another predator to our waterways when the creature is going to be struggling for food. I have a great respect for many of the wildlife trusts who create habitats and try to introduce rare species and most of them are well meaning people, but there are a few know-it-alls who only rely on the sentimental claptrap contained in Beatrix Potter books. Take for instance beavers, which are also being released into the English countryside after an absence of 500 years.
The beavers in question are currently in quarantine in Kent. The "Bring Back he Beaver" project aims to establish breeding colonies. Discussions are under way to find a location for three adults and four newborn beavers.
The point I would like to make is that beavers are protected in Canada, which is a much bigger country than the UK, but the beaver population has grown to the extent that these fascinating dam-building animals are diverting water, flooding fields and farm crops and contaminating drinking water.
In New York, USA the protection has now been relaxed so that the beavers can be controlled. Personally, I am not keen on the current trends of reintroduction, why? Because be priority is all wrong.
There are many other species on the verge of extinction that need to be at the top of the list, such as the corncrake, several species of butterfly, the bittern and the red squirrel, to name a few.
The reintroduction of beavers, wolves and so on, is claptrap. Our country is not the same as it was 500 years ago. Most of the countryside is swallowed up, it is overpopulated. There is no real habitat for do-gooders to introduce beavers and wolves etc.
I will welcome the otter with open arms once the cormorants and mink have been controlled. This will create a better habitat for this delightful British species to thrive on our waterways. It is all a question of balance.
This was in The Angling Times 21.02.2001 billed as an exclusive by Steve Partner.
I did not believe it when I first read it, I thought that it could be an early April fool joke so I rang the newspaper and I was assured that it was true, so here it is:
THE nations fisheries could face a renewed threat from cormorants after it was revealed the birds have started feeding at night.
The news comes after Warwickshire-based Brandon Angling club's best waters-which are situated just a few miles up the road from Billy Makin's extensive complex and John Bloor's Meadowlands Fishery have been suffering from nocturnal cormorant activity. The birds have been spotted feeding by carp anglers, who have been night fishing the waters known as Brandon marshes and that means a complete shift in the natural behavior of the birds who, according to experts never feed at night.
"Cormorants are not nocturnal feeders," said Julian Hughes of the RSPB." They roost an hour before dusk and then feed very early in the morning leaving their roost before first light. Cormorants are certainly smart birds but there would have had to be very effective and widespread scaring techniques being employed in the area for the birds to change what is natural to them. Although its not impossible, Id be very surprised if they are being forced to feed at night."
But Geoff Hornby, match secretary and treasurer of Brandon Angling Club, is convinced of the birds' nocturnal activity "The cormorants have started feeding at night ," said Geoff."We have carp anglers who have been fishing the water at night and they have seen the birds in their torches feeding." Brandon AC leases four lakes from Warwickshire Wildlife trust, which actively encourages cormorants on the waters but this is the first time that they have started feeding after dark.
The fear now is that fisheries which have employed effective scaring techniques to stop the birds during the day, will now have even more problems ."The birds have now upped the anti,"said Billy Makin, who owns Preston Innovations Makins fishery. Within five years they've accelerated the rate of evolution.
As I say even I found this difficult to believe so I checked with the publication. But I would say that on the Hampshire Avon I have seen the cormorants try to feed all day, this I believe is because there are so few fish left it can take them all day to get a meal.