Cormorants – the harm these predatory birds do


This predatory estuary and oceanic bird is now causing problems inland all over the world, as man plunders further into the stocks of sardine, anchovy, mullet, sprat’s etc.But why should we freshwater anglers continue to take the brunt of the consequences???


In and around Britain it has grown in numbers since the 1960's - 70's [[there are now over 20,000 adult birds residing inland] due mainly to a sub species of ‘Sinensis’ that has decimated the waters of Europe and Scandinavia, and has progressively reduced many once fabulous silver shoal river fisheries and lakes in the UK to mere shadows of their former selves. Causing clubs to relinquish leases on fisheries, and young anglers wondering where they can float fish in a river and stand a chance of catching.


Its raping of small silver shoal fishes from our freshwater environments means that the larder has become bare for our indigenous water birds such as dabchicks, great crested grebes and kingfishers.


The RSPB say that a cormorant kills 1 ½ lbs of fish daily. For arguments sake let’s say that figure is made up of 8x 3ounce, 7inch roach. Though their daily intake could consist of any number of small sea and freshwater fish, the silver shoal fish inhabiting our lakes and rivers are obviously easy meat. One reason so many cormorants choose to roost inland. Rutland reservoir for instance has over 300 pairs of resident cormorants.


Multiply Britain’s 20,000 cormorants by 8 and a figure of 160,000 small fish have disappeared in just a single day. In some areas those fish will undoubtedly be roach, dace, chub and or skimmer bream etc. Now multiply 160,000 by 365 and the staggering, almost unbelievable result is 58, 4000, 000. YES 58 MILLION ANNUALLY. You don’t exactly need to be a rocket scientist to work out why in the vast majority of our river and lake land systems, fishing for silver shoal species is now hardly worthwhile.


Did you know that with your licence money for 2010 [about £35,000,000 which also included various government grants?] the Environment Agency on your behalf, stocked a paltry total of 350,000 small fish into freshwater fisheries. Around the same amount of fish the countries cormorant population consume in less than three days.


UNLESS we instigate a NATIONAL CORMORANT CULL and greatly reduce the numbers of this predatory bird raping our freshwater fisheries, OUR FISHING is NEVER GOING TO COME BACK.


We in the PREDATION ACTION GROUP think that a CORMORANT CULL should be under taken by government agencies employing teams of shooters, with access to severely depleted river systems [where at present no one is allowed to cull] and not left to fishery owners and clubs as is now the case, with pitiful licences issued by Natural England for permission to shoot insignificant numbers of birds.. The whole situation is disgraceful and one huge farce.


As with any destructive predator we in the PREDATION ACTION GROUP believe that a policy of ‘FARMERS DEFENCE’ should exist with fish, because if a farmer is within his rights to shoot someone’s dog worrying his sheep, surely all fish farmers and fishery owners should be able to do like wise, to protect their stock?


• Click here to read Avon Cormorants – Biodiversity in Danger


• Click here to read about the Angling Trust's launch of the Cormorant Watch micro-site