Following a high level intervention by the Angling Trust last year Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon announced at the 2011 Angling Summit in the House of Commons that he is now prepared to take "bold decisions" and overhaul the procedures for controlling cormorants and other fish eating birds that are causing so much damage to our game and coarse fish stocks. Read on for the latest news...
The Angling Trust is in there fighting on your behalf to get the best possible deal for anglers. We have attended several meetings of the new Defra Licensing Review group along with representatives from the RSPB, Natural England and others. There are more of these meetings planned, and we are currently undertaking a major research project to develop detailed case studies of the damage caused by fish-eating birds based on the information that our members and others have sent us.
We are taking Mr. Benyon on a visit to a major cormorant roost so he can see for himself the problems these birds are causing. Our Cormorant Control Hotline in partnership with BASC continues to help our members successfully complete the lengthy form filling involved in applying for a license to control fish eating birds. The Angling Trust is also supporting the excellent work of the Avon Roach Project and is helping to ensure that their petition calling for much greater controls of cormorants is presented directly to the minister at Defra along with the feedback we have received from people like yourself via www.cormorantwatch.org.
We expect there to be some announcements of minor changes to licensing procedures in the next few weeks in advance of any major changes which might be announced in the spring of 2012. Ultimately we are looking for much more radical solutions, but this will take time.
The information generated by anglers about the number and location of sightings collected through Cormorant Watch is important in supporting our case and showing the strength of feeling this issue has generated amongst anglers, fishery owners and others involved in the angling industry.
Campaigning on this issue, along with everything else we do for angling, is time-consuming and expensive. Please help the Angling Trust to help angling by making a donation to support our costs, by encouraging every angler you know to join and by renewing your membership promptly (ideally by Direct Debit) each year. The Angling Trust is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with, but we need far more support from the angling world if we are to take on more major campaigns such as Cormorant Watch.
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