Catfish and zander do more harm than otters, goosanders and cormorants

It is wonderful to see such superb sport emanating from St Helens’ Carr Mill Dam.
This is a water that has been through the doldrums and, as with many others before and undoubtedly since, cormorants were to blame.

Now I’m no expert on fish longevity but I am a reasonably qualified observer and I would say the bream currently appearing in the match nets will be anything from eight to 15 years old. They have managed to keep out of trouble for quite some time before re-appearing.

We have experience on rivers that have been denuded of fish, yet last year many of our big rivers fished better ‘...than in living memory’ to quote anglers such as Wayne Swinscoe, in respect of the Trent.

I recall writing last year that if the fish in the Wensum have been eaten by cormorants, why haven’t those in the Yare, a tributary of the same river?

We sometimes have to accept that we get things wrong, and while I have absolutely no doubt that cormorants and goosanders eat millions of fish, they don’t eat enough to cause terminal damage – otherwise the Trent, Thames and Yare would have been fishless years ago.

I still maintain that our ‘enemy’ predators, currently listed as otters, cormorants and goosanders, don’t cost us anywhere near as many fish as illegally stocked zander and catfish – even barbel, notorious fry and spawn eaters that they are.

KHV, often caused by back-door deals for illegally imported fish, has killed more carp than otters will manage in the next 100 years.

I am entirely and completely behind any moves that will make protecting our fisheries from all predators a viable proposition, but I meanwhile hope that we can put our own house in order and stop doing stupid things ourselves.