Barbel fishing on the River Ribble - discuss

tigger

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Had enough of this now, you lot obviously want to beleive fake bullshine on the net and in papers....lol .
 
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Keith M

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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

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cormorant numbers over winter have increased from around 2,000 in the early 1980s to nearly 25,000 now.

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Even this number appears conservative to some. The Angling Trust's new Cormorant Watch website has logged close to 100,000 sightings of the birds. Anglers in Walthamstow Marshes close to the Lea say they often see 200-300 fly past them in just an hour.

And
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.
Quote
"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."

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.

Keith
 
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markg

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I watched a Cormorant surface out at sea with an eel in its beak once while I was beach fishing. It must have been at least 12/18 inches long (12 being conservative), it struggled for quite a bit as it wriggled violently but eventually got it down. I watched a Herring Gull swallow a Whiting last week which was about 8/10 inches long, I thought how does it do that, the main body of the bird is about 12 inches long but it swallowed it easily and flew off.. Of course they have necks and guts that stretch and powerful gastric juices that quickly break down the food. I think most predators are designed like this, ever seen a python swallow a pig. They all must have their limit but the size of the bird or animal is not the best guide. In our minds eye we think of our own limitations but predators have specific evolutionary traits, neck and gut stretching must have given them a survival edge over many thousands of years.
 
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liphook

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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.
 

dave m

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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.
Fish farmer on facebook posted pics of wheelbarrows full of dead carp all 5-10lbs that had died from cormorant inflicted wounds.
 

davebhoy

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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

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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.

Keith
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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.
 

Jim Crosskey 2

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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.
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.

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"!

There is nothing about a cormorant that means that it can't do without the sea!
 

nottskev

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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"!

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.
 

liphook

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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
 

Jim Crosskey 2

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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
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!
 
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Jim Crosskey 2

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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.
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.

Maybe my comment was taken as somehow defending the cormorant. I'm really not. However, my 9 year old daughter has been going on quite a lot recently about Charles Darwin (they're doing Victorians at school) so I thought it might be worth posting a very brief definition of his theory of adaptation (which seems still to have some clout amongst those in the know) which says:

"Adaptation theory, also known as survival theory or survival of the fittest, is an organism's ability to adapt to changes in its environment and adjust accordingly over time"
 

liphook

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You continue to split hairs JC2. Perhaps you find it necessary to polish your clever clogs? I'll stick with my original point - they are not inland birds and have no place on inland waters. I'll add to that with the fact that the entire UK has been man managed for at least the last ten thousand years so the 'balance of nature' you aspire to is not something this land has seen for quite some time. My own adaptation theory to this issue evolved pretty quickly from 32grams of number 6s to 50grams of number 1s
 
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whitty

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Sorry but from once having the opinion that cormorants were to blame for the downturn in fishing many years ago,I look now and most of my local waters have picked up with good populations of roach,perch,skimmers etc,so cormorants were just another issue on top of most likely man caused issues,if you shot every cormorant in the UK the fishing wouldn't change enormously imo.
 

s63

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This may seem a bit off topic but it isn’t. I’ve only just caught the last few moments of a programme on BBC2 called “Animals Unexpected”, it’s fascinating stuff, species that turn up and thrive in completely different continents let alone countries. From the Burmese python arriving in Florida to the Asian Hornet in France, the implications on the local habitat is quite dramatic.
 

markg

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Funny how some birds adapt and others don't. A lot of sea birds are in trouble through loss of food fish mainly, sand eels etc but only sea gulls, cormorants and some terns have adapted to inland. Seals adapting to rivers will be the next one. Sea gulls find roofs and balcony's just as good as cliff ledges and cormorants nest in trees. I reckon give a few thousands years and sea gulls will lose there web feet and develop shorter broader wings, better adapted for flying around buildings and knocking ice creams and beef burgers out of peoples hands. A whole flock attacked me last summer when I walked out of a McDonalds. And one bloke had his steak nicked in a Wetherspoons, the seagull flew in the open window and flew out again with his steak. One of wildlife's great adapters, it could be cormorants next hanging around out side fish and chip shops.
I am developing a hat with a stuffed eagle on top of it, that should deter them, keep your eye out on Dragons Den.
 
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nottskev

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One of wildlife's great adapters, it could be cormorants next hanging around out side fish and chip shops.
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.
 

Philip

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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 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. :)

I see Cormorants as a sea bird thats been driven inland by mans activities. Like urban foxes its adapted amazingly well. So well that you have to start to ask whether its to the detriment of the enviroment its moved into.
 
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The bad one

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This thread seems to have moved a long way away from the thread's title. Is there a problem with fish stocks on the Ribble?
Well no, it's heaving with silvers.

Are the numbers of cormorants out of control on that river because nothing is done to reduce the numbers?
Err well no, because it has a whole catchment area licence applied to it and the numbers are shot up to the maximum limit and have been every year since it went on that catchment licence and before that individual clubs applied for individual licenses for at least the last 10 years before that.

So have the rivers being talked about been put under the same type of regime by all the clubs with fishing rights on those rivers?
If not why not?

The same applies to stillwaters as well. Why arn't the clubs applying and getting licences to put them under a reduction regime.

And please don't give me the BS that it's hard to get a licence! It isn't if you assemble and correlate the evidence to show the fishery is suffering harm by the predation of them.
 
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