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Anglers, clubs and fishery owners urged to use
review to get cormorants on the General Licence
The Angling Trust and the Avon
Roach Project are calling on anglers,
angling clubs and fishery owners to
respond to the current licensing
review and press to have cormorants
added to the General Licence so that
we can better protect our threatened
fish stocks from unsustainable predation.
The government has launched an
online public consultation on
the General Licence, which is
open for comments and
responses until 5th December
2019. The Angling Trust and
the Avon Roach Project have
campaigned jointly for more
than seven years to have the
cormorant placed on the ‘General Licence’ enabling the legal
right to better protect our vulnerable
inland fish populations. A comprehensive overview of the impact of cormorants on our fisheries have been
produced in two reports from the
Angling Trust and the Avon Roach
Project which will be submitted in
evidence as part of the consultation
response. They are:
The Angling Trust’s ‘Impact of Cormorants on Fish Populations of Economic Importance and Conservation
The Avon Roach Project evidencebased Challenge to Natural England /
Defra Review of Fish-Eating Birds
Policy, including history, facts and a
short film.
The reports illustrate how cormorant numbers in the UK have
increased from 2,000 in the 1980s to a
current over-wintering population of
more than 62,000, and with each bird
requiring at least one pound of fish
every day, the level of
conflict with fisheries is
Stuart SingletonWhite, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust said: “This
is an opportunity for cormorants to be
added to the general licence to enable
angling clubs and riparian owners to
more effectively control the impact
these fish-eating birds are having on
our fish, including those fish which
are themselves meant to be protected
under UK and European legislation.
We are encouraging anglers and
angling clubs to submit evidence to
this consultation. To help we have
published both our own evidence
case and a separate guide to the consultation to help our members and
respondents to make a strong case for
the inclusion of cormorants on the
General Licence.”
Trevor Harrop of the Avon Roach
Project said: “We have campaigned
for many years to have the cormorant
licensing law changed to enable a
more realistic level of protection of
our inland fish populations from one
of the greatest and unsustainable
conflicts they face. We now have the
chance to influence the long-awaited
review and it is vital that angling apathy doesn’t allow this opportunity to
pass without a respectable show of
individual and collective effort. This is
likely to be the best and maybe the
last opportunity we’ll get to make the
difference we have all been banging
on about for years and our vulnerable
fish populations deserve.
“I have worked my rocks off for
more than a decade helping to reinstate a healthy population of roach
into the Hampshire Avon and I now
strongly urge everyone to take part in
the online survey to assist the continued recovery of our rivers, streams
and lakes.”
Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the
Angling Trust and long-time campaigner for cormorant controls said:
“The cormorant is an apex predator,
unmatched in nature and is unquestionably one of the biggest threats to
the health of our inland fish populations. We have pushed hard for a
review of the current woefully inadequate, restrictive and inflexible licensing regime, and now, finally, we have
the opportunity to achieve the
changes we seek and to better protect our fisheries. The Wild Birds General Licence Survey runs until December 5th and we need responses from
as many people as possible. All the
background evidence and material is
on the Angling Trust website along
with guidance notes to help with
completing the survey.
If you don’t participate this time
around please don’t complain if nothing gets done!” n


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