Big new bird pe­ti­tion

Cor­morant shoot­ing un­der gen­eral li­cence 22,000 sig­na­tures in first week

Anglers Mail - - Front Page -

ANEW pe­ti­tion call­ing for the shoot­ing of cor­morants to be al­lowed un­der gen­eral li­cence has gained over 22,000 sig­na­tures in its first week.

Neil Co­hen, from Buck­hurst Hill, Es­sex, put up the pe­ti­tion, which is aimed at De­part­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs, on the change. org web­site af­ter see­ing the dam­age caused by cor­morants on Anglian Water reser­voirs.

Trout an­gler Neil ex­plained: “I started this pe­ti­tion, along­side one to Anglian

Water them­selves, ask­ing for them to ap­ply for a li­cence un­der cur­rent rules, due to my con­cerns about the num­ber of cor­morants on their reser­voirs.

“Rut­land Water alone has a es­ti­mated 1,000 cor­morants, which eat one ton of fish a day.

“The aim is to re­duce the num­ber of cor­morants in the coun­try by 50 per cent.

“I be­lieve the num­bers of cor­morants has in­creased con­sid­er­ably over the past five years since the last sur­vey was con­ducted, and that these birds, which should be feed­ing at sea, are in­creas­ing be­cause they have found a much eas­ier food source in­land.

“Cor­morants are the great­est threat, be­cause the num­ber of birds ex­ceeds the num­bers of fish be­ing stocked.

“In ad­di­tion, coarse an­glers have noted a dras­tic de­cline in the num­bers of wild coarse fish be­cause of the num­bers of cor­morants now found on all in­land fish­eries.

“It is widely ac­cepted that we want our youth to be out­side en­joy­ing the coun­try­side, and that all plea­sure fish­ing num­bers are in de­cline, which

will con­tinue if fewer fish can be caught year on year.

“Cur­rently an ap­pli­ca­tion needs to be made by the fish­ery to gain a per­mit to cull a small num­ber of cor­morants each year per fish­ery, and we now re­quest a change in the law to place the great cor­morant un­der gen­eral li­cence.

“I’ve al­ready had an an­gry re­ac­tion from some­one claim­ing to be from Anglian Water say­ing that their wa­ters are bird sanc­tu­ar­ies and they have no in­ten­tion of ap­ply­ing for a li­cence, re­gard­less of our pe­ti­tion,” Neil added.

Mark Lloyd, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Angling Trust, com­mented: “We wel­come all ef­forts to sup­port our long-run­ning and in­ten­sive cam­paign to per­suade politi­cians to al­low angling clubs and other fish­ery man­agers to con­trol the num­bers of cor­morants do­ing

dam­age to their fish­eries.

“We have been en­cour­ag­ing all clubs and fish­eries with li­cences to shoot birds to en­sure that they use up their li­cences, be­cause the Min­is­ter has promised us that he will only re­view the max­i­mum limit if it is ex­ceeded.

“Our fish­ery man­age­ment ad­vi­sors pro­vide free and ex­pert ad­vice to clubs and fish­eries and can help put area-based li­cences in place to co-or­di­nate con­trol in a catch­ment,” Mark added.

Tony Gib­son, chair­man of the Pre­da­tion Ac­tion

Group, said: “We sup­port all at­tempts to con­trol preda­tors. Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the

Trust are do­ing ster­ling work in re­la­tion to cor­morants, so we want to fo­cus more on tack­ling the men­ace from ot­ters, which other groups seem more re­luc­tant to take on board.

“We are cur­rently ad­vis­ing and sup­port­ing sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als who want to ap­ply to Nat­u­ral Eng­land to al­low them to take ac­tion to re­move the men­ace of ot­ters that are dam­ag­ing their fish stocks.

“One has never been granted be­fore, but we hope to achieve this, and are avail­able to sup­port any other club or fish­ery owner who is want­ing to try the same path.

“We will also be re­pub­lish­ing our doc­u­ment on pre­da­tion, called The Big Pic­ture, which sets out all the in­for­ma­tion needed about the dam­age caused by pre­da­tion.”

At the time of go­ing to press, the cor­morant pe­ti­tion had reached 22,784 sig­na­tures.

5

A new pe­ti­tion call­ing for the shoot­ing of cor­morants to be al­lowed un­der gen­eral li­cence has grown rapidly. At the time of this is­sue go­ing to press, it had 22,784 sig­na­tures. Visit change.org and search ‘cor­morants’ to view it.

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