Angling is celebrating a massive victory this week following a government promise to review the laws surrounding the controlling of cormorants.
The long-awaited decision, announced by Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon at the recent ‘Angling Summit’, comes in the wake of action taken by the sport’s governing body, the Angling Trust, which called for moves to protect fisheries from predation by the birds.
Five years on from when the government first began to investigate the cormorant issue, and the excessive bureaucracy surrounding applications for licences to control them, the promise of a review will come as a ray of hope for fishery managers around the country, even though its nature and timing is yet to be announced.
“After five years it’s sensible to review the existing policy on cormorant licensing,” said Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon. “I understand the concerns of the angling community, but these must be balanced with protecting the birds. I approach this review with a completely open mind.”
The Angling Trust’s chief executive Mark Lloyd believes that although this is a massive victory, now is the time for anglers and fishery managers to stand up and be counted.
“It’s vital that we now hear from all those who have been and are being affected by cormorants. That way we can build the strongest case possible and show the government just how much of a threat cormorant predation is to our sport,” he told Angling Times. “The Trust is placing a form on its website for those people to fill in and I would urge them to do so.”
Also pleased at the news is legendary angler and TV star John Wilson. He has been one of angling’s most vocal and persistent campaigners against cormorants, but still feels more needs to be done.
“This is very positive news and my hat goes off to the Angling Trust for the work it has done,” John told AT, “but I won’t be completely happy until there is a national cull on cormorants.”