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The Predation Action Group – Latest News
Greensward Academy Angling Club Predation Action Group Fundraising Match – 14th April 2012
On Saturday April 2012, 8 students and 2 staff from the Greensward Academy Angling Club participated in a general coarse match to raise funds for The Predation Action Group. This is an organisation that is doing a great deal of important work to safeguard the future of angling from voracious predators such as otters, cormorants and poachers.
The match took place on the Back Lake at a popular day-ticket fishery near Battlesbridge in Essex, Churchgate Lakes. The format for the match consisted of anglers fishing in pairs to see who could catch the biggest weight of fish, and after the peg draw, fishing commenced at 9.00am. As there had been an overnight frost, temperatures were unseasonally low, so the anglers were right up against it from the start. The first anglers to get a sniff of any action were Connor Kershaw and Ben Eagles on peg 1, who banked a small bream. The first carp of the match fell to staff pairing of Amanda Salisbury and Andrea Wigglesworth on peg 3, with a small yet welcome 2lb 13oz common.
Harvey Moldon and Ellis Theodorou on peg 4 were very much the novice anglers in the competition, but they kept themselves in the running by catching some nice roach and perch early on, float-fishing with maggots. Amanda Salisbury and Andrea Wigglesworth then had a double take, but unfortunately lost both a small carp and a bream near the net after a bit of a tangle! Could this have proven costly? It was looking that way, as Connor Kershaw and Ben Eagles extended their tally with a 2lb carp, caught on the quiver-tip.
The match played itself out very slowly, but in the last hour the action became fast and furious. Connor Kershaw on peg 1found himself playing a very angry common carp, whilst Amanda Salisbury on peg 3 simultaneously reeled in another feisty Churchgate common. Connor’s weighed in at just over 9lbs, whilst Amanda’s was a respectable 10lbs 6oz. From now on it was a 2 horse race, but Chris Woodrough and Charlie Farmer on Peg 5 put themselves in the frame for the leader-board when Chris banked a lovely 6lb mirror. However, it was quiver-tip maestro Connor Kershaw on peg 1 who showed his match fishing acumen by banking a 2lb mirror right at the death.
This was to prove decisive as Connor and Ben topped the leader-board with a final tally of 17lbs 8oz. Amanda Salisbury and Andrea Wigglesworth finished 2nd, with Chris Woodrough and Ben Eagles coming in 3rd. The match was kindly sponsored by Nash Bait, who awarded the winners with bags of sticky method pellet, and fish frenzy boilies, presented to them by fishery manager Tony Runnalls. This was a hard fought contest in challenging conditions, and a great time was had by all. All of the sponsorship money raised by the anglers with go to the Predation Action Group – further details of the final totals will be publicised once all the money is collected.
Final match results:
1st - Connor Kershaw & Ben Eagles - 17lbs 8oz
2nd - Amanda Salisbury & Andrea Wigglesworth - 13lbs 3oz
3rd - Chris Woodrough & Charlie Farmer - 6lbs 14oz
The alien Chinese Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis (Blumenbach, 1798), a threat to the biodiversity in Europe
Angling Match To Raise Funds For PAG
It’s good to see anglers taking on board the problem of predation of our fish stocks and helping to raise money for the PAG to fight our cause.
One such angler is Mike Salisbury of Greensward Academy who has arranged a general coarse match at Churchgate Lakes, near Battleship in Essex. Students and staff will be taking part and the event will raise money to defend angling from the scourge of the increasing numbers of predators that threaten both our angling, and the rivers and lakes in general.
The match will take place on April 14.
Every penny the PAG receives will go towards helping bring the plight of fisheries and our fish stocks to the attention of the general public and the Government.
This is going to be an expensive campaign so everyone who helps, even in a small way, will be helping protect angling for future generations.
On 8th March 2012 Mark Lloyd of the Angling Trust travelled to Shropshire to see for himself the predation problems faced by a variety of waters in that part of the world. Over a number of years goosanders and cormorants have made heavy inroads into the fish population of the River Severn, and more recently this growing problem has been exacerbated by the spread of otters. Sir John Roberts collected Mark from the station and took him to visit Dorset Pools, one of the Shropshire Anglers Federation’s sites that has been predated by otters in the past, but has now been securely fenced to prevent further intrusions. The Shropshire Anglers Federation controls a number of pools, together with a 12-miles stretch of the Severn, and Sir John has been a tireless anti-predation champion for the last few years, and is aware how much damage predators have caused to fish stocks.
A meeting then took place at Birch Grove hosted by Robert and Giles Gwilt, owners of the 15-acre Mangrove and 5-acre Birch Grove. In addition to Mark Lloyd the meeting was attended by PAG Chairman Tim Paisley, Sir John, Rob Hughes, Ellis Brazier and Andy Jones, all of whom control waters locally which have suffered from predation in its various forms, including otters. Mark saw for himself how difficult it would be to protect the Mangrove and Birch Grove by fencing them (because of joint ownership of the banks and inlet and outlet streams) and it was explained to him that there are a number of much bigger, wilder meres in Cheshire and Shropshire which are vulnerable to predation. Many of these waters have already been predated and lost valuable stocks, including a worrying number of big carp, as a result.
All present appreciated Mark taking time out from his busy schedule to assess the problem of predation in Shropshire, which is simply typical of a number of areas of the country where there are waters which are difficult, or impossible, to fence.
PAG AT CARPIN’ ON
The work of the PAG (Predation Action Group) is coming to the attention of more and more anglers of all disciplines – and it’s an uphill struggle we can tell you! The aim of the PAG is to lobby Parliament to draw attention to what’s happening and, hopefully, to allow fisheries to take measure to prevent predation before it’s too late. This is going to be costly that’s for sure and at the recent Carpin’ On show the PAG set about raising funds from their stand which also highlighted the problems angling faces.
Fox donated the proceeds from their outdoor casting competition and donations totalled £386 with numerous promises of pledges made so the total will go higher. Angling Publications swelled the total by nearly £3,000 in January with proceeds from their very successful An Evening Of Carp and the fund raising is set to continue apace.
Keep checking the website for more details on the PAG and how you can help and donate.
Predation in Scotland
An example photo of otter kills we have had on Scottish Carp Group waters:
A few of the fish are 20lb+ still quite rare in Scotland and we have already had to abandon one water after suffering near total loss of the carp stock two winters running. Most of our other waters are also suffering.
Many thanks to you all for taking this on and best of luck. Good luck with your great work and let’s hope something is done before it’s too late!
Regards, Saul Gardiner.
Carp still alive after suffering severe otter damage
Just yesterday, before the site even opened, we were sent a series of horrendous pictures by Ashley Gedden of a Thames mirror carp of 25lb which had suffered what’s looks like severe typical otter damage. It was still alive at the time these pictures were taken. Two days prior to that report we heard a whisper that a fully scaled mirror, which had clearly been the victim of an otter, was found dead on the bank at Redmire Pool. Redmire custodian Les Bamford, who lives next to the Pool, has confirmed the rumour. He feels that Redmire may have to be fenced. The reaction to the launch of the PAG website has been remarkable, with 610 visits in the first 24 hours. The extensive report we have received from Hull & District detailing the damage and expense they have suffered because of otters is typical of the verbal and written reactions we have been receiving since the PAG was formed. At the moment many pools and lakes are frozen, which could be a blessing in disguise for many carp waters which are at the mercy of otters when carp are at their most listless and food sources are at an all-time low.
The ‘Evening of Carp’ held at Doncaster on 27th January was a huge success, with a record attendance of 450+ turning out to listen to speakers John Wilson MBE, Ali Hamidi, Darrell Peck and Terry Hearn. The profits from the meeting have added of the order of £3800 to the PAG Fighting Fund. (The final figure has yet to be announced.) All work for the PAG is voluntary but we need to build a Fighting Fund because if we are to make inroads into the predation problem then we may have to go head on with some of the most powerful natural lobbies in the land. Even the major angling bodies are currently in denial over the otter contribution to the predation problem. Why? Because we can’t risk the ire of public opinion if we point out that our angling heritage is being murdered by predation, largely because of the twin thrust of invasive cormorants and released otters. We are rapidly running out of the food sources that sustain our wildlife and at the present rate we will be prevented from making any progress until it is too late.
Hull and District Anglers Association Otter Predation Report
We have been aware of otters paying regular visits to a number of our venues for many years, you occasionally saw some faint tracks in the mud or a spraint; if you where lucky, a fleeting glimpse at long range on a deserted fishery at first light. Over the last three years sightings have increased dramatically and we have noticed a worrying change in their behaviour in so much as they no longer seem to fear humans. They have been seen at all times of the day, swimming about at close range in full view of anglers on some of our most popular and busy venues.
It has also become apparent that they are having a direct impact on our fish stocks, particularly through predation on our specimen carp. A number of large carp remains showing the classic signs of being killed and partially eaten by otters have been found on our Motorway, Brickyard and Brandesburton venues, these lakes have a rich history and are famous in the north of England for the valuable specimen carp to almost 40lb that live in their waters. The only legal way we have to prevent further losses is by the erection of otter fencing; a number of reasons prevent us from going ahead with this, the main one being the finance required to erect the fence; the location, topography and the fact that some of our venues are leased on a short term basis also make it a difficult proposition to undertake.
We are a fishing club that is famous for its specimen fish venues, we rely heavily on the income that carp anglers provide us with, at least 30% of our annual income is from the sale of night permits, not to mention the volunteer man hours our members provide through winter work parties which helps us to maintain and improve all of our venues.
If the predation continues, it will have a direct affect on us financially through loss of membership and we can do nothing to stop it due to the level of protection afforded to otters. If a sheep farmer sees a dog attacking his livestock, he is entitled by law to shoot that dog, all we can do is stand and watch as our valuable assets are killed and we can do nothing about it.
As part of our long term stocking policy, we purchased 400 C2 carp at a cost of £2,000 from Ben Gratwick at Priory Fisheries in the autumn of 2009, they where put into three stock ponds at our Brough Complex with the intention of growing them on to a decent size. During the winter, every one of those carp were killed and eaten by otters. We where finding partially eaten remains on a daily basis (see photo attached) and judging by the tracks that were left, we were being visited by not just one but numbers of otters.
As a direct result of this, we decided to fence off the entire complex at a cost of £17,500. This brings the financial outlay brought about as a direct result of otter predation on just one of our venues to almost £20,000. This is an extremely large amount of money for a fishing club to find, but we felt we had no other choice if we wanted to safeguard the future of our fish stocks at Brough.
This is a very serious problem that will only get worse unless we as anglers act together to try and make the right people aware of the true facts. H&DAA believes that it is vitally important to get behind the PAG and help fight this very serious threat to our wonderful sport.
H&DAA Fisheries Information Officer
Tel 07938 561245