Why this site exists.
Well we certainly have stirred something up haven't we!
You can e-mail me with answers to my questions at the bottom of the Facts page. If you have any answers that is.
In response to some of the many E mails that I have received that all deserve more or less the same response.
This site is not here for the protection of commercial fisheries which I do not agree with and never fish, and in any way the owners take steps to prevent cormorants on these waters. I completely agree that these waters are partly responsible for the inland invasion of cormorants but there is nothing that I can do about that. There are many ponds and lakes that are over stocked, but unfortunately this is legal and all I can do is withhold my business, but these waters are not rivers.
I find it hard to believe that these birdwatchers who, judging by the e-mails are seriously against commercial fisheries, can be so much in favour of the main thing that keeps these fisheries going, the cormorant, if it wasn't for these birds then commercial fisheries would probably go out of business because then the anglers would be able to catch on our natural waters
One E mail said "cormorants only kill for food." That's funny! So the three pound plus chub that I saw in the River Avon, still alive swimming with its guts hanging out provided food for cormorants did it? The roach in the photograph with its tail half sliced off provided food for cormorants did it? The rainbow trout in the other photograph with a half inch hole in its head provided food for cormorants did it? The three mature bream that are also pictured on the damage page provided food for these birds did they?
No. You are talking BOLLOCKS! You don't know,and you haven't looked, this is because you do not care and you don't want to know, and the last thing that you want to see is proven damage against cormorants. Also these fish will not ever be able to provide food for cormorants or any other fish eating bird if there are too few of them left to successfully spawn.
Q. How stupid are you?
Because each cormorant eats £10.00 worth of fish per day perhaps you would like to set up a fund to pay for these greedy birds. The fish could be stocked into all the waters that are bird sanctuaries and then cormorants would have no need to predate on our great rivers. Of course this would mean £3650.00 per year for each bird present! I bet you are not so keen on this idea are you? Anglers do not expect you to subsidise our hobby, so why should you expect us to subsidise yours?
I have also had E mails from people who point out that the sea eagle is a natural predator to cormorants. Well, stupid! This is a UK site and sea eagles are not all that common in the UK are they? I could have got a dot com but that would have implied that I was trying to comment on matters that are outside of my knowledge, involving the wildlife of another country,
I am not qualified to do that, and neither are you.
To the person that says, "over time if the cormorants eat too many fish then nature will take care of it and their numbers will drop to a sustainable amount" I say, how long will this take? 10 years? 20 years? I, and many other river anglers might not have that long. What if the fish never return? Why should we have to put up with this for even one season?
To the person that says they support my right to free speech with my site as long as it is legal. I say that there have been many many bad laws over the years in this country and if people had not spoken out about them then those bad laws would still stand.
I'm sure that you can think of a few.
My advice to any angler who works hard every day and is looking forward to his or her retirement to go fishing is, think carefully, because when the time comes it might not be quite what you expect. As someone said to me today, "the river fishing that you had is gone for good, get used to it all that you have is memories, and it is all because of these birds"
To the people who claim that the cormorant was always a freshwater bird but was hunted from fresh water when shot guns were invented, say 150 years ago. I would like to say. This claim is not provable either way, and anyway you cannot compare the rivers of today with 150 years ago. One of the main things that prevents cormorants from stripping our waters is the inability to fly in and land because of wind direction and tree cover. 150 years ago there were no chainsaws and many many more trees along the river banks I suspect that if a tree fell into the river it was often left there because everything had to be done by hand, the combination of these two factors would have given much more cover for the fish enabling them to sustain their numbers and far fewer sections of river that were suitable for cormorants to land on. These days because of flood prevention schemes and agriculture etc. this is not the case. This is why the situation is so different now.
It would not surprise me to find out that the European cormorant was an illegally introduced alien bird bought in by one of these extremist bird watchers, as the ruddy duck was.
I have certainly had e-mails from people that think the birds ought to be here in this country.
There are massive efforts going on to try to save the genetic strain of River Test salmon and is it so surprising that the majority of the tags from the released young smolts are found in the shit underneath the trees where the cormorants stop?
To the E mails that I have had saying "the cormorant will move on to find food allowing the fish stocks to recover." The person that wrote this has no idea about several things. The fish that these birds are eating are shoal fish generally quite small and are long lived in normal circumstances, therefore the numbers may take many years to recover.
The cormorants give them no time to recover it will return to a water time and time again until there are no fish left for it to catch., For example a single roach may live for 15 years, for at least 8 years of its life it will be smaller than 1 lb ( 500gm) the size at which the cormorant would not be able to swallow. Six years ago there was a roach shoal at Mansbridge on the River Itchen (free fishing) probably comprising of about 80 fish of between 4oz and 12oz anglers used to go and catch them and return them unharmed, a good angler on a good day could catch maybe 25 or 30, these fish would have lived for at least another 10 years breeding every year, one day two cormorants arrived and on a frosty morning I watched them taking these roach, in ten minutes one bird swallowed four I knew what was happening and I could not watch any more. Within two weeks the roach and the cormorants were gone. Three years later a few roach began to be caught from the river again, not as many as before but a good angler on a good day could catch 8 or 9 in a day then the cormorants returned and there has been hardly a roach caught from there since.
I repeat, you do not know how much damage these birds are doing and have already done on medium and large sized rivers and lakes. There are vast stretches of the Hampshire Avon, the Dorset Stour and many other rivers that are almost never re stocked there are no river keepers and there is no protection for the fish, as a result fish populations are at an extremely low and unsustainable number. The the direct result of too many cormorants and is not good for the environment, the grebes, the herons,the otters, or even the cormorant population generally, long term.
I set up this site for many reasons, and although it is obviously not finished, it has now been on line for a few weeks and already I have started to receive feedback. Much of this has comprised hate mail and vast amounts of misinformation from people who will never see my point of view anyway and reinforced the necessity of this site being here. There are now even more reasons than before for me wanting this site to stay here.
I always knew that there were many ignorant and bigoted people out there and it is quite refreshing to be reminded that I was not wrong. I have received just about every excuse going as to the reasons why this site is wrong, or why I am wrong, right through to where I should stick my fishing rods! This sort of stuff does not do your cause any good, so what, if you think fishing is pointless or bad, unfortunately for you it is extremely popular.
Sorry chaps, but we still have free speech in this country, no thanks to many of you lot. So as you are never going to agree with me any way I don't give a shit.
There is nothing illegal about this site and I find it astounding that many people who claim to care about the wildlife actually don't care about it at all unless it has feathers.
I have had E mails from people have never even been to this country let alone seen a British river but because they watch birds in their own country this qualifies them to comment on what is happening here. The British cormorant is a sea bird - fact - like it or not. And even if I was wrong about this point, this would not diminish the environmental damage done by these birds.
Many of you are bigoted against me just because I go fishing, and just because you don't does not make you any better or any worse than me. I would never dream of being so arrogant as to comment about any aspect of wildlife in a country that I had not even visited, let alone spent any time in so don't be so ignorant. You probably think that racists are wrong but you are no different. I do not wish to harm any creature and I have never shot any thing in my life.
All these E mails just make me all the more determined to keep this site up. You may not like the facts but they are still facts and I will continue to highlight cormorant damage where ever I find it. There is a lot of it about. I will continue to place pictures of damaged fish and trees on this site whenever I find them. There is nothing that you can do about it, and if only one fish is saved because of this site it will be worth it
Originally I planned to reply to all of my E mails even the abusive ones, however the sheer numbers of them (still not as numerous as cormorants,) makes this impossible. I have suffered much verbal abuse over my 40 years so don't think that by sending me abusive e-mails has any effect, (better men than you have said worse things to me and it did not bother me.) And I have also had E mails in support of what I am doing
I have a very rewarding, interesting, profitable,and legal business, so I am not going to waste my time trying to reply to all of these E mails many of which are from people who would not listen as long as they had a holes in their backsides. If your E mails are constructive and sensible even if you do not agree with me I will try to find the time to reply, however if the E mails are going to be abusive all the time then I will simply remove this link from the site.
You don't like it when gruesome pictures of what is actually going on, what your beloved birds are actually doing to our wildlife are there for everyone to see, do you? Well that's tough because I am not ignorant of the facts, and I don't think that many of you are, you just don't care.
This stuff was sent to me via e-mail from a person who has a job counting these birds when he wrote this he had obviously not read all of the site and he also obviously hates all fishermen. He also wants the authorities to remove this site. Why, Is it illegal? no! Does it go against what he agrees with? Yes! Has he ever heard of free speech? Probably only for himself. I'm sure glad that he's not in government.
I must apologize for his foul language but I decided to leave it in as it helps to illustrate his mind workings. ( Bit of a nutter I'd say!)
If you've got this far into all of this you will have already read some of these replies
Dear Anonymous Person,
I see that your website has not got any better since I last failed to get any sort of reply from you. I would like to take issue with more of your misguided comments, and this time would expect the minor courtesy of a reply, even if it is just to tell me to fuck off (which I assume is all you are capable of, as reasoned debate seems beyond your capability).
I posted replies to this at the end of April 2001 but this JERK didn't bother to read all of the site.
Also read English Nature report no.360 about inland breeding cormorants (1998). This report states that there may be 10,000 inland breeding cormorants within the next 5-10 years not counting the 4-5,000 that we get from the coasts for most of the year anyway I don't know what they think all these 10,000 expected extra cormorants are going to eat as already many waters are severely depleted of fish stocks and on some rivers I believe stocks are in danger of collapsing completely.
MAY be 10,000 inland breeding Cormorants. That is nothing more than speculation - a pure guess. Therefore it can easily be challenged as it has been plucked out of the air. My estimate would be for far fewer than this, but I wouldn't be stupid enough to pluck a fictitious figure out of nowhere. And 10,000 EXTRA Cormorants? Presumably the 10,000 figure you're so keen on, and indeed ask for anyone to challenge, includes the Cormorants already breeding inland. Therefore, your statement of 10,000 EXTRA Cormorants is ENTIRELY FALSE.
This guy is questioning me about the validity of the English Nature survey. It's not my survey, perhaps he is miffy because they didn't ask him to do it!
If you've got any morals, you'll put that on your website alongside an apology. If not, then at least remove your claim that no-one can dispute your figures. I have - they don't add up mate!!! If you don't know what these mythical extra 10,000 Cormorants are going to eat then you're a bigger idiot than I previously thought. They're going to eat the millions of fish that are artificially introduced into the environment each year for the recreational purposes of anglers. That is, as they say, bleeding obvious. If, as you claim, stocks are in danger of collapsing, then how come we're going to get an extra 10,000 Cormorants?
I'm not an idiot, if these birds were only visiting the commercial fisheries then I would not be at all worried about them. But they are not. They are on our rivers, none of which are commercial fisheries, if these birds are only eating fish at commercial fisheries then how come they are on our rivers? Now who's contradicting himself?
Again, this simply does not add up. Again, I dispute your facts, purely because they are WRONG. Please put this on your website.
Well here it is. But you can't expect me to let all of these rantings go without reply.
If you think that the English Nature report no 360 is wrong then you'd better take it up with them. I suspect that you'd not even heard of this report before my website appeared. Commercial fisheries are very well defended by their owners, the birds are simply not tolerated. This is why our natural waters are being attacked.
I consider that the RSPB and bird watchers everywhere are being extremely bad neighbours by allowing and encouraging these birds on to their waters. They are encouraging what they want to the complete detriment of all other wildlife. The RSPB and bird watchers, as you call them, do not 'encourage' anything other than nature to take its course. If Cormorants visit RSPB reserves, then all well and good. Do you SERIOUSLY believe that birders (which is what they're called) would rather see nothing but millions of Cormorants, than a well-balanced and diverse environment? Again, if you do, then you are a fool, and know nothing about the subject you are claiming to be some sort of expert on.
Of course they encourage cormorants, because they don't care and mostly have no idea about the fish (out of sight out of mind) although fish are an essential part of the diet of many of our native water birds (not that I'm saying UK cormorants are native to fresh water, they are not.).
As for the RSPB and nature taking its course! Oh yeah, like they do with foxes and crows, not forgetting the famous ruddy duck. More lies from this person.
This person thinks that mankind can be removed from the equation, tell me whats natural about electricity pylons? This is where I see many cormorants resting
These birds do not ever stay on the reserves as they quickly eat all of the fish there. They then move on to our great rivers and lakes. This happening to all of our fisheries and it is not acceptable. This has quite clearly been made up. Have you ever been to an RSPB reserve? Which one/s? When? How many Cormorants did you see? How many fish did you see them catch and eat? You contradict yourself superbly! The RSPB encourages Cormorants to its reserves, then they eat all the fish and go away again? REALLY?! You seem to know more about the workings of RSPB reserves than the RSPB do. Perhaps you should offer them your services.
The cormorants appetite has not been questioned, not even by this bigot, the cormorant is just too efficient for our natural waters to cope with. When the birds have eaten all of the fish on the reserves they will move on to other waters which belong to people that do not want these birds. This is why the birdwatchers are very bad neighbours to have, this would not happen if the birds did not have refuge on their reserves.
Answer my questions honestly, and maybe we will see the depth of your 'research'. Again, either include your references for this 'information' on your website, or take off these potentially slanderous remarks and apologise. Footnote: I challenge any person to be able to dispute any of the numbers quoted within this website or the amount that these birds eat. This website has been up for several weeks now and to date nobody has been able to do this I have. Publish this NOW, or take off the stupid lies.
My research comes from 30 years experience on rivers and lakes I may not have letters after my name but I do know what is going on.
I bet you've not got the balls to do either. In fact, I reckon you will continue to say that nobody knows Cormorants like you do, and never acknowledge that these claims have been challenged, and indeed found seriously lacking. I also assume that you won't reply to me, as I already know you've got no spine, you pathetic little stickleback.
Is that a three spined spineless stickleback or a ten spined spineless one?
. Richard Fray
PS: Copy of your above outburst sent to RSPB Criminal Investigations Unit
PPS: You're a bit of an illiterate fucker, aren't you. If you'd like someone to correct your spelling and grammar for you, then I suggest you find someone with half a brain. Failing that (presumably you've never met one), why don't you just give it up and stick to pulling fish out of hideously sanitised, overstocked gravel pits by their mouths. Presumably this is the sort of thing people like you enjoy, and let's face it: you'll never make it as an author!
I don't fish waters such as he describes.
I'd also like to know where the 'Angling Star' got the excellent line drawing of a Cormorant that appears on their petition. I'd like to bet that: a) it was drawn by an experience bird/wildlife artist; and b) it is being used without permission. If you don't tell me, I'll find out for myself. Wildlife artists are usually very quick to take people to court. Remember, this illustration is also used by your sad website, so you are also liable to prosecution. Let's hope it happens!
I happen to think that this website is not sad, but very informative and factual.
IM not trying to be an author but I'm still literate enough to counter your lies with this website, and I'm looking forward to this so called summons. I am of the opinion that you are far more worried about this than we are.
And some more...
For a start, there's the greatest danger to all wildlife in Britain (apart from man) - the Mink. I bet they do a huge amount of damage to fish stocks, as they do to bird populations. They are not, of course, native. In fact, many have been deliberately released by idiot 'animal rights campaigners' who do far, far more harm than good. Unfortunately, birders usually get lumped in with this 'loony-lefty' sort of behaviour, and are usually treated with this sort of contempt, which is another problem relating to the Cormorant situation - a lack of understanding between birders and anglers. What about farm slurry? How many fish are killed by run-off from industrial units? Environmental vandalism continues at a corporate level all over the country, indeed all over the world, and nothing is ever done about it. What are anglers doing about this?
A lot more than you know and a lot more than birdwatchers ever have!
These problems must surely be far greater than that of the Cormorant, as not only do they kill huge numbers of fish, all in one go, often wiping out the entire ecosystem of a river or stream, but they also destroy a whole range of other wildlife required to support a viable population of fish, which can leave detrimental legacies for generations to come. Where is the 'Anglers against unnecessary commercial pollution website, with associated petitions for greater fines and prison sentences for offenders?
This guy talks to a great many anglers ( allegedly ) so many in fact that he has not even heard of the Anglers' Conservation Association, incorporating The Pure Rivers Society. This organization has been in existence since 1948 and almost all anglers or angling clubs are members. In 1998 for example damages recovered from polluters totaled £81,765.71, this figure does not include fines levied.
I agree that the fines are too low but this is still a lot more than the birdwatchers have done!
This organization can be contacted at http://www.a-c-a.org
This is what we should all be campaigning against, for the good of the environment as a whole. It is far more financially viable for a company such as ICI to pollute and pay the paltry fines than it would be to actually dispose of the pollutants legally. Whilst this is the case, we will never have clean rivers and the fish levels of the past. I feel that the humble Cormorant, which, let's face it, is big, ugly and above all black, has been made something of a scapegoat, be it a problem or not. Imagine if we did remove all the Cormorants? Do you think we'd really be that much better off? My biggest worry is this: let's say that all the Cormorants in Britain are killed off. What would be next? Herons? Diving ducks? In my opinion, it is simply not on.
All cormorants will never be removed and anglers have respect for all birds, but there are too many cormorants. They have a right to exist. But not in unlimited numbers.
This page is entitled. "Why this site exists." Well, stupid! Its here because of you!