Fisheries to join forces to fight Natural England over otter problem

Fisheries that have had their stocks destroyed by otters are being called to join an ‘action group’ vowing to take those responsible for encouraging the species spread to court.

Angling Times can exclusively reveal plans of the sport’s latest predation-hit casualties - a force of fishery owners determined to build a legal case against Natural England as part of a bid to seek compensation for losses.

Having had to watch his lakes destroyed as otters ate their way through his stocks of carp, Peter White, owner of a fishery south of York, is leading others to fight back.

Peter has joined other venues to discuss how they can mount a challenge. “I’m convinced that we’ll have a good case to take Natural England to court.
There are lots of people saying that enough is enough,” claimed Peter.

“Many fisheries are in the same boat as us - trout waters have also been ravaged and even a golf club has had one its lakes destroyed,” he added.

“No one can afford fencing or the other protection measures NE suggests. Legal action is the only answer, so our group will do its damnedest to recruit fisheries from across the UK to create a united front and raise the necessary money,” said Peter.

They are claiming that Natural England provides 100 per cent funding to local wildlife trusts to build otter holts on rivers to help encourage the species’ spread, a policy which is leaving fisheries exposed to predation.

Natural England offers no financial support or viable management options to those fisheries suffering loss of earnings.

The problem is so severe that even small, day-ticket waters are joining the ‘action group’ to help fight to protect angling.

“I’m just so glad that my lake isn’t my livelihood, because if it was I’d be a broken man. All my fish are dead, the wildlife has vanished and the ecology of my pool is a shadow of its former self, all thanks to otters,” said Terry Hayes, owner of a one-acre lake at Bubwith near Selby.

Natural England was still preparing a statement at the time of publication.