SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS – AND CONTROVERSY

Minister calls for review in new feather v fin debate

Minister calls for review in new feather v fin debate

Cormorants are an outstanding success story. At a point of such critical decline in the 70s that they were placed on the protected species list, there is now a winter population of over 23,000 in the UK alone – and that’s the problem.

Their food is fish – including endangered species such as salmon, bullheads, lampreys and eels. Cormorant flocks congregate at river bottlenecks during salmon and smolt migrations and can annihilate whole runs of fish.

Such is the concern about the quantities this bird consumes that Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister for Nature Conservation and Fisheries, has called for a review of the measures that gave the Cormorant protected status. He proposes that cormorants should now be managed at certain times of the year to protect the fisheries, and urges a review of the system granting licences to shoot cormorants, currently issued by Defra.

He was speaking at the Third National Angling Summit (December 11), organised by Martin Salter MP, and attended by the Salmon & Trout Association and representatives of other fisheries associations.

Comments Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association, “There will always be those defending cormorants’ right to take fish unhindered. Our position is that there must be a managed balance between prey and predator. We have vigorously lobbied for increased flexibility for fisheries to be able to protect vulnerable stocks of fish from cormorants. We are delighted with the Minister’s proactive stance.”

The Moran Committee Joint Bird Group, of which the Salmon & Trout Association is a leading member, has produced an information leaflet and booklet, “Protecting your Fishery from Cormorants”. This is viewable on www.cormorants.info or obtainable from the Salmon & Trout Association at 0202 7283 5838.

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For further information, please contact Carmel Jorgensen at 020 7283 5838.