I have been asked by a Fisheries owner to publish blog on behalf, as he is truly fed up with the Otter situation in this Country.
I’ve lived with Otter predation on my fishing lakes for a number of years.
I would like to recount a couple of my experiences. We had the local Otter expert a few years ago to give us some advice on keeping them out. After spending several hours with us, walking our grounds and discussing solutions; he was in his car, engine running and about to leave when he opened the drivers door, turned his head towards me and shouted “you’re a fishery owner accept the losses” and sped out of the car-park like an F1 driver. A few blue words were said!
Second story, following the above incident. I spent some time with the then local EA Director. I said, “if you consider that about 50 pairs of Otters have been released in this part of Wales, which was about right. They eat 2lb of fish per day, so 100 animals eating 100 fish in 1000sq miles would be an acceptable loss. But Otters don’t eat 1 2lb fish they eat the head/shoulders and keep on taking fish until they’ve eaten 2lb of fish flesh – probably 8-10 fish each. To make the maths easy, 100 (otters) x 8 (fish) x 400 (days in a year) = potentially 300,000 lost fish per year.” That’s a huge loss, any wonder then that the fish stocks in West Wales’ rivers are falling? I continued, “The situation gets worse, at this time of the year you’ve got Mum, Dad and the 2 kids and each wants their 2lb of fish! So, not only are they eating you out of house and home they’re population is growing too.” With no natural predators their population can double in a couple of years. Finally I said, “things gets worse, how do they get an easy feed? When the fish are busy on the best spawning gravels playing boys and girls. Easy targets for fish-hungry Otters. They will suddenly wake up to the fact that they’re under attack and in order to survive they will scatter and spawn on the less productive gravels.” So, they are also severely impacting on the River’s ability to recover lost fish stocks naturally. His reply was “Oh, we didn’t work it out like that” a short pause, ” in fact we didn’t work it out at all!” I was stunned, as the first computer program I ever wrote was one about modelling an eco-system like Otters and Fish (qv Rab-Fox simulation via Google)
What this means is that they are clueless to what they have done and the impact and effect on a river’s eco-systems.
Absolutely idiotic, and to make matters worse, it wasn’t the indigenous Welsh Otter (a small animal) that they released but the much larger Euro-Asian Otter.
Environment Agency – more like Disastrous Agency.
For people like me – you can’t tell the EA that you have a problem as they would only come and close you down. Get caught doing something about it (I am surrounded by houses) and a big fine follows. What ever we do we’re on a loser. I don’t have any problem with the public at large seeing Otters in the wild, but for us that rely on fishing for our livelihood we MUST either be compensated, re-stocked for free or help provided to permanently keep them out. I know test work has been done using green lasers, but a sting or “tickle” is nothing when you have a determined animal – he’ll just charge at the obstacle until he’s quick enough and stung little enough that it doesn’t matter to him. Food, easy food is what matters.