Otters

GrahamM

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We've recently seen the destruction of a well known carp fishery by otters, and they're being sighted almost by the week on different rivers and stillwaters. They're lovely animals but they are also the fox of the waters with their habit of killing for killing's sake and not just for food. I am not for one minute suggesting we kill otters (which are protected anyway), but what the hell can we do about them if they continue to grow in such numbers an increasing number of fish stocks become endangered? What's the answer? Can they be controlled without killing? I'd like to think so.
 
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Philip Inzani

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Graham, its a major problem. Anyone thinking that it is not should try and get hold of an article by Fred Sykes (pretty sure that was his name) that appeared in Carp world a while back. His Northern Carp fishery was wiped out by Otters and some of the things he said where not good...for example the Otters tend to target the bigger/easier to catch fish first. They rarely eat the whole thing, preferring a new, fresh fish every day!
He tried a number of things to control them but the only fool proof way was to fence off the entire lake with something similar to an electrified rabbit barrier (but adapted for Otters) at no little expense. That seemed to work on his fishery of a few acres but I cannot see it being viable on a large lake down south. My guess is that no one will take notice of this until we lose a real high profile fish....can you imagine is "Mary" was killed by an otter!
I think the solution is to open dialogue between angers and the correct animal rights groups to find a solution....maybe something for the SACG ?

Philip
 

GrahamM

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It's the old, old story. Let's wait for a disaster before we do something about it. What with cormorants and now otters it makes you wonder where it's all going to end. But your idea of the SACG having talks with the appropriate animal organisation makes sense.
 
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Philip Inzani

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Interesting how no one seems to care about this! No comments at all?
Cormorants seem to be taking a higher profile at the moment but think about this. A Cormorant has a maximum size in terms of the fish it can catch....an Otter does not. You may not be able to catch that 30Lb Carp in your lake but an Otter will!
 

fishy pete

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had a slight problem with otters on my lakes last year,quite easily dealt with.
eletric fence doubled,one strand running about 2" of floor,other about 8" full perimeter of lake worked a treat.
 

stuart clough

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Saw an otter face to face on the Avon this weekend - eating an eel. The lake nearby has lost several large carp recently. Electric fences do work, but they are expensive for large lakes and impractical for rivers. As otters are territorial I think it should be possible to create a chemical repellent - that smells like a bigger more dominant otter! Not sure how this would sit with conservation legislation though, particularly where otters are a designated species. Also not sure if trapping and re-locating them is permitted either. It is and will continue to be a growing problem for fisheries, and it is not easy to resolve.
 
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christian tyroll

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why cant they be more like the beaver.............

but seriously that must be a nightmere, so they just kill the fish for the sake of it despite not needing it for food? if this is the case how would they survive in the wild if they just destroy all the fish?

or is it just because there spoilt for choice with commercials ;-)
 
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BAZ (Angel of the North)

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Talking with the appropriate animal organisation could be worth a try. This is how it works with Badgers when they become troublesome to farmers. They are caught and relocated by the Badger society. It might work the same way with otters, it's worth a try.
 
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Frothey

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"but seriously that must be a nightmere, so they just kill the fish for the sake of it despite not needing it for food?"

us humans have been doing stuff like that for years......
 

stuart clough

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Not sure it is just for the sake of it - what tends to happen is they catch a big fish, say a carp, eat the shoulders and not much else. The next day they go back and get a fresh one rather than return to the day old one.
 
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christian tyroll

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so Frothey, the way i see it in a few million years time we will have super intelligant evolved otters, walking about the houses of paliment ;)
 
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Big Rik

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probably do better than the tits we've got in there at the moment
 

Benny The Bream

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Would it possible to feed the otters so they dont need to hunt???
as i understand it eels are the staple diet of otters they have had to target other fish due to the number of eels declining what would the impact of a restocking of eels have on other fish species???
 
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DANNY BOY SMITH

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I'm not gonna condone the otter but they don't do as much damage as "MINK".THESE BLACK BANDITS DESTOY MORE FISHERYS THAN OTTERS AND CORMORANTS!bird scarers and electric fences don't work with these dam critters.
 

fishy pete

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THE URASIAN OTTER-a brief history.
the presence of the otter on our waterways is an indicatorof the general health of the system. their presence can reflect the improved water quality of a site and that there is adequate prey resources available. they may even indicate that habit quality is improving.
Otters were once a common site on the uk's rivers streams and coastlines but following the widespread introduction of ORGANOCHLORIDE pesticides in the 1950's populations underwent a dramatic fall.By the end of the 70's otters were absent from the majority of England and large parts of Scotland and Wales.
Following widespread concern about there disapperance the otter was given full protection under the WILDLIFE AND COUNTRYSIDE act 1981 and a large conservation effort was directed towards the species.
since the mid 1990's otter populations accross the country have been making a come-back with some areas recording otter presence for the first time since the 50's .
conservation effort has been concentrated on protecting and enhancing river and wetland environments and withimprovements in water quality,populations in most areas are doing well.the vast majority of this population increase has come about by natural recolonisation.although a re-introduction programme assisted populations in the east of England,this has now come to an end.
Thanks to conservation and research activitys,much is now known about this animal,which is helping to dispel some of the OLD MISCONCEPTIONS AND WIVES TALES bieng levelled at this animal.
 

fishy pete

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OTTER FACTS;
FOOD AND FEEDING HABITS;
ABOUT 70-80% of an otters diet isfish but this varies withlocation and season to include amphibians,waterfowl,rabbits,and other small animals.they eat around 1kg per day,but have to catch this amount,which is always difficult.Otters preffer to eat small fish(12cm) and small eels(50cm)when avaailable.Adult otters,which the exeption of family units,are largely solitery.Adult males,perticulary,forage extensively across the terrestrial reaches of their range e.g. woods,meadows and hedge rows.
 

fishy pete

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SHELTER;
Both male and female otters have quite extensive ranges,which incorporate many different habit elements.the size of these home ranges depends on resorce avadabillity and males can utilise upto 40km.Otters use a wide range of resting oppertunitys through-out their range with a strong preferance for above ground shelter in dense undergrowth,reedbeds and riverside cavitys under trees. Animals change resting sites throughout a 24 hr period,femals prefer much quiter locations.
 

fishy pete

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BREEDING AND SURVIVAL;
Otters breed at any time of the year but appear to favour the late winter/early spring and late summer/ early autumn periods,but this can depend on the location and density.Females require large undisturbed breeding areas with several den sites that are unlikely to flood.Cubs remain in natel area for up tro three months befors they are educated to the outside world.Cubs can stay with parents for up to two years,but most dispurse to edge of parents range at 210 to 15 months old.Mortality in young otters can be very high,many falling victim to the otters worst enemy ,the motor vehicle.population density is hard to deturmin,but is rarely very high,it may change throughout different seasons and breeding stages.
 
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