The number of cormorants in the Uk has increased by 17 times in the last 25 years and the RSPB do not see that this is a problem
Cormorants used to be located all around our coasts and estuaries as they are a sea bird. When I was about 10 years old, I used to see many of these birds on Southampton water which is populated by sea fish, whilst I was fishing. I now live by Southampton water and you can look there now and you will see very few, if any, cormorants.
The claim by the bird watchers (so called experts) that these birds have only moved inland because of over fishing at sea is complete rubbish. How many trawlers come up Southampton water? NONE! This claim just goes to show how ignorant that they are.
Several factors have caused this damage to our rivers and lakes.
The first and most important factor is the DDT ban that goes back to the mid 1970s; ever since then the cormorant population has increased considerably every year until now it is at epidemic proportions.
With the population increase has obviously come a greater need for food. These birds are smart and have simply learnt to fly up the river valleys in search of more food. This would not cause such a problem if it was just a few birds, say a dozen on each river or large gravel pit.
The problem is that there are over fifty birds that fly up the river Test Valley every day for most of the year. They can be seen and counted early in the mornings and they only leave for part of the year to breed and even then the immature birds are still on the waters. This is happening to a greater or lesser extent on all of our rivers, and the fish on many of our rivers are not all that prolific anyway.
Cormorants can be seen on any of the larger rivers and on all of the large gravel pits in the country. I personally have seen them on the rivers Test, Itchen, and Avon in Hampshire, the Thames and the Kennet in Berkshire, the rivers Stour and Frome in Dorset, the Thames and other rivers in Oxfordshire, the Wey in Surrey etc. There are populations on all large lakes and gravel pits in Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Swindon, etc. THESE ARE HARDLY SEASIDE TOWNS ARE THEY?
If your lake or river is small, i.e. less than two acres for lakes or less than 4 meters wide for streams with lots of alder and willow growth along the banks you should be safe. However you must still be vigilant if you wish to keep your fish stocks as the cormorant will pursue fish for some distances up or down streams that flow into or out of larger areas of rivers or lakes, sometimes for several hundred yards.
Cormorants also do not like shallow water, i.e. water less than two feet six inches deep, however with this winters recent rain many streams that were previously safe from predation have suffered badly.