- Jan 13, 2017
- Reaction score
- watching river levels
cormorant numbers over winter have increased from around 2,000 in the early 1980s to nearly 25,000 now.
Quote"We tried scare tactics such as firing off a pistol, but that didn't work," said Dennis Meadhurst, secretary of Lee Anglers Consortium, which represents fishing clubs along the Lea. The consortium built reed beds and underwater cages to protect the fish from the birds, but with no success. Meadhurst said it had given up restocking the river because the cormorants, which alert each other to good prey, will simply descend on the new schools and devour them.
"We used to have lots of roach and dace and see gudgeon after gudgeon, but you hardly see any now," Meadhurst said. "We used to take around £60,000 a year [in fishing permits] but then in 1996 the cormorants came in and that was that. We are down to around £15,000 now."
Fish farmer on facebook posted pics of wheelbarrows full of dead carp all 5-10lbs that had died from cormorant inflicted wounds.It's not just the fish they swallow but the fish they pierce/damage. I've seen this 1st hand on both trout and coarse waters. They are not an inland bird and have no place on our rivers and lakes in my opinion.
Walthamstow reservoirs have got huge amounts of them nesting on the islands, you’ll often see them in the water. But for some reason the silver fish populations seem to be thriving, there are huge shoals of roach from tiny to large.I can see what you are trying to convey to us Ian but when we see things like the following happening on our waters everyday then you must see why they are now referred to as the Black Death.
NB: Read it all and dont just skip through it.
Anglers vs 'the Black Death': cormorants have the edge in battle of the riverbanks | Environment | The Guardian
Are the RSPB burying their heads in the sand a bit on this matter ?
it certainly sounds like they are to me and thousands of other anglers Ian.
Sorry, whilst I do feel some plight for affected fisheries, this is just not true. The cormorant is a predatory bird that eats fish. There is no part of its physiology that "needs" the sea. It can digest freshwater fish just as easily as it can digest saltwater fish, and it can nest where it damn well pleases. It will go where there's the best supply of food.It's not just the fish they swallow but the fish they pierce/damage. I've seen this 1st hand on both trout and coarse waters. They are not an inland bird and have no place on our rivers and lakes in my opinion.
A load of the examples that are being quoted here related to man-made fisheries. I.e. man fills a lake full of more fish than it would naturally support (in loads of the examples quoted, carp or here, trout). Then cormorant turns up and makes hay whilst the sun shines! Is it any wonder? Free food, and loads of it!! Much easier to catch than in the "wild"!
Its not the guidebooks that control what they do though is it? My point is that a cormorant has no actual requirement of the sea and it will go where the food is. I live about as far away from the sea as it's possible to get in this country and there are massive flocks of cormorants thriving here. So yes, by all means write to those publishers and tell them to get their facts straight because the evidence I see every time I go fishing suggests that they're wrong!I bow to your absolute knowledge of ornithology JC2. I'll write to the various publishers of the many guidebooks I have that refer to cormorants as predators of the open seas and coastal waters! Eejit
Kev, first off thanks for taking the opportunity to discuss these points sensibly. You make a very valid point which I'm not trying to refute. I have absolutely no problem with pest control - I had rats in my shed last Christmas and was delighted to have them taken care of. Equally, I have no problem whatsoever with cormorants being shot. If the numbers I see whilst out fishing are replicated nationwide then 6,000 birds seems reasonable. Whilst I would like to believe that the best ecosystem we could hope for is one where a self-sustaining balance is achieved, the reality is often very different (because of the impact of our own actions - you mention pollution and abstraction above, very good examples of our own impact on the water environment) - so as the cause of these things, we do still need to take some responsibility for the wider balance.There's an argument that it's short-sighted and selfish to want to reduce predators such as cormorants, since many fisheries are artificial constructs with unnaturally high stocks of fish, just asking to be eaten, so it serves you right if they are. I get this, up to a point, but it doesn’t convince me all waters should be open-house for all predators. After all, where do we find environments, which have been cultured towards things we want, where we don’t control things that threaten them? Allotments and orchards contain an unnaturally high density of fruit and vegetables, but we don’t abandon them to pests, and most people want to keep the cat out of the goldfish bowl.
A second argument - not that you were making either of these, Jim, I'm just speaking in general - advises us not to worry about predators as their numbers will adjust in proportion to the available prey; nature will come to a balance. But what if that balance is, for say, cormorants, something that applies to the entire region over which they fish, rather than to any particular water they visit? It’s one thing to explain how herons, grebes, pike and perch etc form the natural, sustainable chain in any given water; another to claim a flock of cormorants do. And how long does it take for the balance to be achieved? I have books from two clubs whose lakes and gravel pits are still, after decades, not viable for fishing for anything below carp size. With various cormorant HQ’s nearby, they have never recovered their “balance” and it’s not likely they will, since they can be re-visited by roaming birds.
Thanks to a chance invitation, from a mate who is an AT member as a condition of getting his coaching qualifications, I found myself at the AT AGM as a guest. I had to sit out the actual AGM, but I went to an interesting session on how fish stocks might be improved. Threats to fish stocks were listed in this order of importance: agricultural pollution; sewage pollution; over-abstraction; predation; migration barriers; invasive species; habitat degradation. Some of the attempts to address some of these were discussed.
The speaker at the session said they will continue to lobby for the number of licensed cormorant shootings to be raised to 6,000 p.a. I have to say I don’t feel like objecting.
Or even inside, deep-fried? (Who says we can't adapt, too?) Unlikely, though - it seems you need to marinade the breasts for a couple of days, then stew, and the experts warn of bio-accumulation risks ie you get the chemical pollution they've ingested with their diet.One of wildlife's great adapters, it could be cormorants next hanging around out side fish and chip shops.
I see your point Jim and its true Cormorants dont require to HAVE to be a sea bird but that argument is a bit like saying an Elephant does not HAVE to live were it does and COULD live in Croydon if it wanted.Its not the guidebooks that control what they do though is it? My point is that a cormorant has no actual requirement of the sea and it will go where the food is. I live about as far away from the sea as it's possible to get in this country and there are massive flocks of cormorants thriving here. So yes, by all means write to those publishers and tell them to get their facts straight because the evidence I see every time I go fishing suggests that they're wrong!