Protests against goosanders will never see them removed from our waters

I expect most of you know that I am quite often up for a bit of threatened civil disobedience but I can’t understand why some anglers who are, quite rightly, up in arms at the massive damage caused to local fish stocks by goosanders.

It’s a bit ironic that another group on the same river want to cause trouble for themselves and the sport of angling in general by fishing during the close season – an act that would be potentially detrimental to fish stocks in its own right.

The problem I have with the goosander issue is that I can’t see what it has to do with the Environment Agency. Is this a protest that fish being eaten aren’t being replaced, only to be eaten themselves?

Removal of the birds would be down to Defra, not the EA but even if it was, what could be done? As I understand it these birds are in the Shrewsbury area, close to the main bridge. How can shooting take place there? What other measures could be taken to remove the birds?

I am always up for a battle but there is a massive step between problem and solution and that is what needs to be filled. The birds are there and need to be gone to help the mighty River Severn recover its stocks naturally. The big question is how to make them go and until that can be solved, boycotts, marches, protests and anything else will be a total waste of time, in my opinion.

Talking of Defra, I guess that anglers will be comparing its decision to cull parakeets when it won’t do anything as positive about cormorants – or for that matter goosanders.

Where I live, I see thousands (no exaggeration) of parakeets every day. Several thousand roost in one area around Esher. They have spread east into Kent and west into Sussex and north into Berkshire.

Several stories exist about where they came from, the one I find most appealing being that they were imported for the film ‘Bounty’ and then released from Shepperton studios.

One difference between the cormorant/parakeet situation is that parakeets have a bad effect on native birds and as such their removal would have no challenge, possibly even the support of bird groups such as the RSPB which, as we all know, is way more powerful than the angling lobby because of numerical and financial support.

Cormorants, on the other hand, are still seen as quite a novelty in many areas and have no obvious deleterious effect on other birds so they are welcome. It’s only fish that suffer and angling has such restricted powers, because anglers won’t back its representative body. Shame on those that don’t.