Calling all anglers... the sport needs your help to stop the devastation being caused at fisheries by otters.
In a week that has seen dozens of clubs contact Angling Times with horror tales of stocks being decimated, the authorities have made it clear that without the input of anglers, little can be done to halt the problem.
And in a bid to save our stocks from what some are describing as the ‘new cormorants’, AT is launching an ‘Otterwatch’ scheme to help build a case against the furry predators.
John Martin, a wildlife surveyor and angler who works on an almost daily basis advising Natural England and the Environment Agency, said: “I honestly believe that populations will restabilise to the pre-crash levels of the 1970s when otters happily co-existed with river owners and fishing clubs,” said John, who spent 25 years as a fisheries officer with the EA “In the meantime, we need anglers to log absolutely all evidence of otters, with pictures. Without evidence, a valid case for action can’t be made.” This is a view shared by Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd, who is keen to hear anglers’ views on how to tackle the problem before he meets Natural England bosses in a few weeks’ time.
“We’re meeting with Natural England on April 20 to raise anglers’ growing concerns on the otter problem, and in the meantime would very much welcome constructive input regarding possible solutions to the problem.
“In the short-term, we’re advising clubs on the legal measures they can employ to help safeguard their fish through protective fencing, stocking policies and improving habitat for the fish, to make it harder for the otters to catch them.”