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Do we need to do more about otters?


Ddgx
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Bit of an essay here but bare with me. I'll be honest, I didn't appreciate just how big an issue and potential issue predation was until I saw the Environment Agency otter survey on Friday. If I'm reading it right, the word 'explosion' doesn't seem too strong to describe how the otter population has grown in the last decade. Having done a forum search the topic comes up sporadically, and I can't help but get the sense that most anglers don't appreciate the full scale of the issue. I thought for those who haven't seen it, this visual explanation of otter population growth is about as powerful and to the point as it comes (sorry about the screenshot potato quality, please go see the ea survey) ;

 

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And I wonder what the map looks like between 2010 and now? So there are organisations such as the predation action group, and they are looking out for the effect of not just otters but crayfish and cormorants etc too. But it doesn't seem to me like they have the exposure necessary to make the difference needed? Cue Danny Fairbrass and his not for profit 'Embryo' organisation which seems to me like a way to make a genuine difference. I was surprised to see only a handful of replies to that topic when someone raised it. So I guess my reason for posting is, do we not need to stand up and be counted because time seems to be of the essence and are we all just waiting for someone else to step in and resolve the problem for us? Trouble is, the biggest obstacle would seem to be that the general publics opinion on otters is 'Awwww their cute!'. That is the kind of obstacle that will mean that the chances of government bodies or legislation coming to the rescue is close to zero in the short term - and how many fish are we losing a week (serious question)? Does anyone even know what the statistical effect is on commercial fisheries? Anyway, if the problem is as bad as it seems (apparently the specimen barbel population is now non-existent?) do we need to get behind the likes of Danny F and get the job done ourselves? What can we do as individuals?

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Cm, 'Embryo' is basically trying to organise fencing for fisheries amongst other things.

What I find really scary is the environment agencies attitude to all this. I just read an interview with Adrian Taylor from the EA lifted from carpology. He basically denied that there had been an explosion in the otter population, and said there were no plans for another survey. This was 2013. Where otters are released does not require any kind of consent from the EA. Basically, as far as I can tell they couldn't care less about the loss of specimens.

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The biggest problem anglers have is themselves. Apathy plays a big part, not enough people prepared to do something even if it benefits them.

 

Back in my club days, we were lucky to get 25% membership during the close season turn out to carry out bank work.

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Cm, 'Embryo' is basically trying to organise fencing for fisheries amongst other things.

What I find really scary is the environment agencies attitude to all this. I just read an interview with Adrian Taylor from the EA lifted from carpology. He basically denied that there had been an explosion in the otter population, and said there were no plans for another survey. This was 2013. Where otters are released does not require any kind of consent from the EA. Basically, as far as I can tell they couldn't care less about the loss of specimens.

The EA are LYING BACKSTABBING HYPOCRITS. Take our yearly fishing TAX, then encourage the exploitation of the very thing that will ruin fishing. Burying their heads in the sand in the process.

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Other than trying to protect the fish with fencing there is not a lot anglers can do with otters, if anglers were to call for a cull. It would lead to a spot light on angling as a whole, the anti blood sports people would relish that fight, as in this day and age it is a fight anglers could not win.
A few years ago I was fishing pine pool at kingsbury, one of the rangers asked me if I had seen any otters or mink in the park due to large fish being found on the bank side half eaten, I replied no, the ranger was very happy at the thought of otters in the park, he took great pleasure in letting me now that and there was talk of members of the public once again being able to see otters in the park.
Times have moved on, raise a hand to the otter and we will be in the news for all the wrong reasons.

A group has recently brought an end to greyhound racing in Coventry on the grounds it is cruel to the dogs, they protested every day out side the track, I could see similar protests out side fisheries that call for a cull of otters.

Nice to see other anglers have no time for the EA, the only interest they have in angling is raising funds and fining anglers that rarely fish other than a sunny day out in the summer

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I think fencing is the only real thing you can do. So perhaps we should all put our opinions on korda, good or bad, aside as far as this common cause is concerned? Embryo, is initially being funded by Danny to begin with. Then they are aiming to have it be self sufficient. I think we can all start by just talking about it more. Not just in here, but on the bankside, in tackle shops, down the pub, social media. Spreading the word on Embryo and The PAG.

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Whilst fencing is a preventative measure. There are clubs and syndicates that simply can't afford it. So all you do is move the problem.

 

I don't know what the answer is, it needs careful consideration and thought, so that local clubs with limited resources don't become the ones bearing the burden because if that happens, their membership numbers will dwindle and those clubs will be lost and with it, a whole bunch of anglers who can't afford the more expensive clubs/syndicates.

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Whilst fencing is a preventative measure. There are clubs and syndicates that simply can't afford it. So all you do is move the problem.

 

I don't know what the answer is, it needs careful consideration and thought, so that local clubs with limited resources don't become the ones bearing the burden because if that happens, their membership numbers will dwindle and those clubs will be lost and with it, a whole bunch of anglers who can't afford the more expensive clubs/syndicates.

Hi Androooo. My understanding of the Embryo project is to establish funding, volunteers, equipment etc to try and help out exactly the people you are talking about. Clubs and lakes that need protecting that don't necessarily have huge money to spend on getting otter proof.

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Clubs can also apply for funding for fencing from the EA.

 

I don't know the criteria needed to qualify, but it's worth applying if your club needs help.

 

We're never going to change the public opinion on otters. Protection of the fisheries is the best option in the current climate, in my opinion.

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There is one problem with fencing, I don't think it will be used to protect "wild" carp, such as found in rivers and water parks, I don't think you could get planning permission to fence off a lot of waters, large meres and reservoirs would still suffer.

I'm troubled by the fact that I suspect you're spot on there. I don't blame the otters, I don't even blame people who like otters, wildlife in all its forms has a right to exist on earth of course, it's just one of those situations with no easy answer.

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I might be wrong, but I do believe a lot of these otters come from released stock, at this time they have no natural predictor, I’m sure if wolves or bears were to be released also, complaints from the occasional wild life spotters would come in thick and fast, even the bird watchers are not happy with the otter release program.

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I might be wrong, but I do believe a lot of these otters come from released stock, at this time they have no natural predictor, I’m sure if wolves or bears were to be released also, complaints from the occasional wild life spotters would come in thick and fast, even the bird watchers are not happy with the otter release program.

Only thing is most the bird watching types hate anglers more than otters :(
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Two waters i used to fish had otter problems, one used fences etc the other didnt. they both got raped and emptied, the only difference was the time it took for the otters to find a way in, which they will! My new water has otters from a holt built on a river nearby. however the otters havent caused any problems as its a busynature reserve and the otters are quickly spooked by the heavy bankside activity and move somewhere quieter down river. unfortunatley, that often means the pastie F1 match complex a few miles downriver.

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