An Appeal By John Wilson MBE – Will You Help?

As you know, I met up with John Wilson the other day and he was telling me about a project he’s involved with in the Predation Action Group. Essentially he’s prepared a dossier recording how his local waters and businesses have been affected by cormorants and otters and he’s asking if other anglers around the country will help him by compiling a similar document. The ultimate aim is to present them all to Parliament and demonstrate once and for all what the true state of affairs is regarding the impact of predation on angling in the UK.
If you are willing to help you can email me your own predation case study and I will personally ensure that it reaches John himself. I’m sure he will be happy to write a personal ‘thank you’ letter to anyone who helps. Forget about the preamble at the start, if you want to get involved you need to start writing something similar to the information below the heading, ‘Those Who Are Suffering***’. Try and concentrate on waters and businesses close to where you live and present facts rather than hearsay. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that local fisheries and businesses will be pretty keen to help out.
Anyway, here’s John’s message to me and his own report so you can see what exactly he’d like you to write:
Hi Bob

As usual, nice to meet up with you again and here attached is my predation case book, of all the fisheries within just six miles of where I live. We in the predation action group are looking for anglers to do a similar case book of affected waters in their respective areas, so we can eventually send a huge dossier to the government as proof of our worsening fishing due to cormorants and otters.

Best Wishes
A report from John Wilson MBE, Compiled Oct-November 2010:
This is a Case Study detailing consequences of worsening, and now devastated angling, leisure activity along the River Wensum Valley upstream from Norwich in the relatively short stretch between the villages of Taverham and Elsing, (though the entire 30 miles of the river between Norwich and Fakenham have been similarly afflicted) solely due to Cormorant and Otter predation . This has meant a substantial reduction in business to local pubs, shops, post offices, supermarkets, a golf course/fishery, hotel accommodation, guest houses and numerous, once prolific coarse fisheries. A situation now rife throughout Norfolk and Suffolk’s major upper river systems, including the Yare, Bure and Waveney, plus their tributaries.
All this prompts the question, why is it within the law for a farmer to shoot someone’s dog that is worrying his sheep, yet fish farmers, fishery owners and angling clubs etc are not freely allowed to cull predators such as cormorants and otters decimating their stocks of fish? It all beggars belief.
When reintroduced by Tony Blair’s ‘nanny state’ administration in conjunction with Natural England throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, no consideration whatsoever was given to the impact on fish stocks needed to sustain an apex predator such as the otter. Were anglers even consulted about the consequences? Was there any kind of feasibility study done about the release of a major predator into river systems already raped of their silver shoal species by cormorants? Were riparian owners of the river banks consulted about their once ‘valuable’ salmon, chub, bream and barbel fisheries being turned into veritable ‘wastelands for fish? Were angling clubs whose members have put in much hard work over the years in constructing and maintaining valuable still water fisheries ever consulted? Were private fishery owners who have actually built their own fisheries,[ such as me], ever told they would start losing expensive fish as otters started to devour, maim and disfigure them, once the larder in the river became bare? Sadly the answer to all these questions is a resounding NO.
No one was ever consulted as Natural England fired by Blair’s administration, ran roughshod over East Anglia, introducing otters everywhere. And remember, most stretches of East Anglia’s upper rivers had already been decimated of silver shoal fishes by cormorants, with a much reduced stock of eels [said to be the preferred food of otters] which all the interested parties knew about. Very many superb angling fisheries in both still and running water have quite literally been turned into an ‘Armageddon ‘for fish.
Devastating predation has and is constantly occurring to both river and lake species, including dace, roach, perch, tench, bream chub, carp, pike and barbel.Already, the youngsters of the River Valley have no accessible spots in flowing water to pursue the art of fishing, where they stand much of a chance of catching anything, whilst life long anglers who’s interest lay with specimen-sized fish, are having their heritage and much hard work destroyed at an alarming rate.
Are easy meats to otters. As I experienced when scuba diving local rivers back in the 1970’s, it was easy to come up alongside any sized barbel so long as you approached it from a down stream, or across river direction. They would lay there and allow this 13 stone diver to twiddle their whiskers and stroke their bellies. They are by nature the most friendly and trusting of freshwater fishes. Whereas all other species will move away if you approach too close. To Otters, adult barbel, specimens somewhere between 15-25 years of age, are literally ‘easy meat’. And all the otter ever eats from a 10-15lbs fish is around one pound of flesh from its throat or stomach, before leaving the carcass for a fox to sniff out and carry off. A sad end to such magnificent specimens.
Together with heavy cormorant predation upon silver shoal fishes still occurring (a NATIONAL cormorant cull is surely now IMPERATIVE—its not rocket science) there is no way these otter-ravaged rivers can continue as healthy fisheries and provide leisure for future generations. We are talking about tens and tens of thousands of anglers here (in East Anglia alone), all of whom have purchased a fishing licence in good faith from the Environment Agency whose mandate by the law of the land is to protect freshwater fisheries be they still or running water. They are clearly NOT! The anglers of East Anglia and the rest of the country have been let down badly. And it is a worsening situation.
(Along a comparatively ‘short stretch’ of just the River Wensum)
***The following represents the kind of summary you need to compile:
TAVERHAM MILLS LAKE AND RIVER WENSUM FISHERY Manager Simon Wrigglesworth. Tel: 01603 861014. e-mail:
Comprising of a 24 acre lake and 1 mile of the River Wensum owned and controlled by Anglian Water, this fishery was once pride of its East Anglian holdings. A 16lbs-6oz barbel, caught here by Steve Keer in 1998, actually held the British record.So the fishery was acclaimed nationally. In recent years however the entire fishery has been decimated.
The lake, though now fully fenced electrically, still suffers heavy otter predation each winter, particularly in high water levels. In the 2009/2010 season alone, 24 big carp of up to 32lbs in weight [at an average retail cost of £500-00 apiece] were destroyed by otters.
In the river there is but a handful of barbel left. And of course it is impossible to fence-in a river. The once prolific roach [mostly through cormorant predation] are virtually non existent, whilst adult chub, through otter predation, have been drastically reduced.
The fisheries self-catering, on site angling accommodation and adjacent tackle shop used to once provide a valuable source of income, but it now produces less than half the income it did back in 2006.Such has been the devastation suffered, mainly through otter predation. Ten years back the allocation of 35 ‘season permits’ to fish the river only was always full.In 2009 only 18 anglers had rejoined.
The fishery used to contribute commercial value to many local businesses. Its guests visiting local pubs, restaurants, shops and even other fisheries etc. This has now all but ceased.
Prop for 11 years is Alan Patrick. Tel: 01603 872237
There has been a noticeable reduction in anglers both local and on holiday visiting the shop for food or bait. These past four years have seen a steady decline.
Prop for 5 years is Mr Steve Austin. Tel: 01603 872307
Who is only too aware of the local predatory problems due to large carp and tench being taken by otters from the lake at the rear of his property? This lake, once a gravel pit, like most of the 27 beautifully matured lakes around Lenwade now stocked with large carp, was excavated during the 2nd world war for the aggregates to build local air fields. It has been estimated that the water-owning residents of Lenwade have spent somewhere between £70,000- 80,000-00 on fencing in their properties trying to keep wanton killers such as the otter, out.
Prop John Smith. Tel: 01603 308092. e-mail
John Smith came to live here 10 years ago when the old Mill House was renovated and turned into luxury accommodation. He bought the property mainly for the wonderful fishing in the mill pool with its two sluices, and heavy stocks of bream and chub plus small groups of barbel and roach.A status quo that no longer sadly exists.
Till 2007 fishing in the pool was still good, but from 2008 the decline has been unbelievably rapid through both cormorant and otter predation. Only last 2009/2010 winter, the worst for many years, due to many local still waters being frozen over, cormorants and otters plundered the pool and the river above to devastating effects. For instance, within a week of the Environment Agency stocking 250 young barbel into the river immediately below the Mill House, on every day thereafter there were up to 19 cormorants gorging upon them and what few other small fish that were left.
Today there are no concentrations of young fish from which adults will ever emerge and a mere handful of adult fish left. The Mill Pool as a fishery is dead.
Mr A P Morrish (Te: 01603 870453. e-mail  lives and has done for 10 years in the Granary complex, being part of Lenwade Mill Pool fishery, and also is a partnership in the [across the road] Bridge Public House which comprises a six lake fishery and 600 yards of the River Wensum, once famous for producing barbel to nearly 20lbs.In January and February 2007 Mr Morrish found 13 barbel dead and part eaten by otters. All of these (irreplaceable fish) weighed in excess of 13lbs. Two of these fish were found along the edge of the mill pool, the rest along the pub stretch, two of which Mr Morrish actually recognised(through scale and body deformities) as fish he had caught the previous autumn at 16lbs-2oz and 16lbs-6oz.
Moreover, due to severe cormorant predation above the mill pool, combined with a river bed that has dropped from five feet to under four feet in the time he has lived here (due to poor management of the sluices by the Environment Agency) has ruined what by many was considered to be the finest roach fishing on the entire upper River Wensum. It was in fact the very reason he came to live here 10 years ago.
Mr John Seamons (Tel: 01603 879437. e-mail lives in the Granary complex at Lenwade Mill Pool and has done for 10 years since he first bought the property because of the prolific roach fishing. Due to advice[wrongly in everyone’s opinion] from Natural England to the Environment Agency of ‘NOT’ cutting a channel down the middle of the river so anglers can fish and for improving summer flow, fishing has been virtually impossible during the past few years. And what with massive predation from cormorants during the winter months, float fishing for roach and dace (the Wensum’s indigenous species, both mentioned in the Parson Woodeford diaries of the 1700’s) is now largely a waste of time immediately above the mill pool. In the words of Mr Seamons, who was so excited about the fishing when he first purchased his idyllic spot, ‘the fishing during these past few years has now completely gone down the pan’. All because of an alien, non indigenous[to our inland waterways] immigrant sea bird and otters being introduced without any case book study being done as to what these apex predators are going to eat in a river system already badly ravaged by ‘the black death’.
Mr A. P. Morrish tel 01603 870453
These previously well stocked fisheries have like all other waters close by, suffered devastating predation by otters upon the carp which once weighed up to 39lbs.Dozens of extremely valuable and costly fish being found part-eaten by otters these past few years. A fence at a cost to the owners of £25,000-00 has now been erected.
John Wilson MBE. Tel: 01603 ****** (yeah, like I’m going to publish it!) e-mail ****** (contact through this site only, please)
These two small man-made lakes have been ravaged by otters for several years now (despite an otter fence being erected along the river bank only at a cost of £6500-00, banking is too steep around the rest of the fishery) with over 50 carp and grass carp to over 20lbs being killed together with 20 catfish to 25lbs.What’s more, during the severe winter of 2009/2010, dozens and dozens of carp were so stressed out after being repeatedly chased by otters (a distinct white, ‘stress’ cast could be seen along their backs) many died a slow death afterwards as a result. This is simply not acceptable.
Mrs Jones. Tel: 01362 688694
These two small lakes of two and three acres respectively , once prolific carp fisheries, have, lying adjacent to the River Wensum, suffered drastically during recent years from otter predation. Specimens to over 30lbs having been ravaged. Specimens that would cost up to £2000-00 apiece to replace.
Prop Mrs Yvonne Todd. Tel: 01603 868474
During the past four or five year’s bookings with anglers visiting this area and staying at Foxwood have certainly crashed. It’s as though the fishing isn’t worth the effort any more. Which is not so far from reality?
Prop Darren Layfield. Tel: 01493 842231. e-mail
Comprising a short stretch of the River Wensum plus 4 syndicate and day ticket carp and general fishing lakes. Due to uneven ground between and surrounding the lakes not all of the fishery can be fenced in, although the owner has invested thousands of pounds endeavouring to protect much of the fishery, and therefore still suffers severe winter otter predation, at outlandish costs.
Tel: 01603 872248
Has suffered a noticeable decline in the amount of both local and visiting anglers wanting to stay at the pub and fish their stretch of river where the otters have reduced levels of specimen-sized barbel and chub to an all-time low. In the bar of the pub is a ‘stuffed; 16lbs barbel [far larger than the once ‘national record] found one morning part eaten beside the Wensum.This stretch produced monster barbel to almost 20lbs a couple of years ago, individual fish that were but a pound away from establishing a new British record. Now most have been eaten by otters. This creature single handedly has destroyed a most unique and irreplaceable angling phenomenon.
Owner David Baker. Tel: 01362 637883
Periodically suffers otter attacks, and has done so especially during these past four years, resulting in lower syndicate membership of anglers joining their fishery. Not exactly how the owners envisaged the running of a modern coarse fishery.
Secretary Cyril Wigg. Tel: 01603 423 625
This Lakeland (three well established pits) and river complex just downstream from Taverham mill has suffered badly in recent years from both otter and cormorant predation , resulting in the Norwich and District A.A. who control the fishing issuing less and less permits each year, and having to subsidise those they do issue. Roach in the River Wensum here, once the pride and joy of the association, are now like rocking horse droppings, and chub are nowhere as thick on the ground as they once were. While carp, pike and tench in the lakes are regularly plundered by otters.
Secretary John Mills. Tel: 07876 563378
Who have several hundred members on their books, control stretches of the Wensum and various local pits between Lyng and Swanton Morley, open[for the modest price of a ticket to all] are constantly suffering devastating otter attacks, diminishing all the hard work in stocking and in the quality and in the promotion of their fisheries to both local and visiting anglers alike.
Manager David Wilby. Tel: 01603 872948. e-mail
These two famous carp lakes (renowned throughout angling circles for the high, average sized carp they produce, including specimens to over 40lbs) have periodically suffered costly carp deaths from otters which enter the complex via the adjacent River Wensum. As this is a ‘big carp’ fishery, the cost of regularly replacing those ravaged by otters becomes an escalating, economic problem for the management For instance. A 30lbs carp now costs up to £3000-00, and at today’s prices this fishery contains £1 ¼ million in stock fish, and caters for 5000 anglers annually including a party from Ireland who come over purely for the wonderful carp fishing. Due to the boggy-marshland boundary with the River Wensum, effectively fencing in the entire fishery is sadly not an option. The fishery at present is in the process of developing its own fish farm. Is it to loose still more fish to the wanton killing by otters?
W. Oram Tel: 01603 867317
This winding ‘once chub- prolific’ stretch of the River Wensum has greatly deteriorated in recent years through predation from otters and cormorants. It now has nowhere near so many adult chub and pike available to the small amount of syndicate members who still fish there hoping for things to change. I once caught 21 chub of between 3-4 ½ lbs here in a single session. My best ever chub haul from the upper Wensum. Twenty years ago this stretch (like so much of the upper Wensum) contained shoals of big roach and large dace, both of which due to heavy cormorant predation are a thing of the past. Yet first and foremost the River Wensum is actually considered a lowland roach river. Now it’s like a congested motorway without any cars.
Director John Bailey. Tel: 01263 ****** (contact this site for details)
This 4 lake complex bordered by the adjacent River Wensum, like all local fisheries has regularly suffered its large carp being found wantonly killed and part-eaten by otters. Whilst the once roach-prolific River Wensum,[the envy of roach anglers up and down the country back in the last millennium] is now sadly but a shadow of it’s former self.
Owner Basil Todd. Tel: 01603 261012. e-mail
This fishery comprises nearly two miles of the once roach and chub prolific River Wensum, plus several wetland lagoons skirting the bottom of the golf course. Roach and dace are now almost non existent due to cormorants, whilst otters predate heavily on the specimen-sized chub, trout and pike. The owner has on several occasions found part eaten big chub in the middle of the fairways, where a fox has carted off an otter-mauled corpse and been disturbed by early morning golfers. This has resulted in fewer anglers staying in the hotel in order to fish this particular part of the river.
Owner Mrs S Acloque. Tel: 01603 872392. E mail
This fishery has now been partly fenced in along the river bank, at quite some cost, having been heavily ravaged by otters. Time will tell whether this continues. Much of the work has been done by the members. Numerous cormorants gather along the adjacent river, particularly in winter, and add to the predation.
Owner Mr C Arthurton. Tel 01603 879888
Another specimen-carp lake in Lenwade that is periodically ravaged by otters, at great cost [in replacement stock] to the owners. It has been part-fenced along the river bank, but still 50 carp have been found part-eaten during the past five years.
Owner Mr J Woodhouse. Tel 01603 879421
A famous big carp lake that has thrilled local and visiting anglers alike with the size of it’s carp for more than 40 years. But it too in recent years has suffered chronic predation from the release of otters, with numerous carp to 30lbs being found part eaten along with a pair of large grass carp. The cost to the owner of replacing these adult carp is astronomical. It has now been partly fenced, but like so many of the mature lakes (ex gravel workings) in Lenwade, the banks are extremely steep and uneven.
If businesses, fisheries, angling clubs and fish populations are being affected where you live then you would be helping greatly if you compiled the facts and passed them on to the Predation Action Group. By all means email your documents to me and I will ensure your findings reach the right people.

25 thoughts on “An Appeal By John Wilson MBE – Will You Help?

  1. John, a very powerful, factual report. It echoes what i’ve been saying for the last 10yrs.

    The Otter Trust have been introducing otters for at least 15yrs along the Suffolk stour and the Essex Colne with no consultation. These creatures have been seen and run over by vehicles all along the stretches and right up to the river sources.

    In recent years otters have entered the river Pant , a small well stocked stream. Now there are no fish at all. As you say , a combination of cormorant and otter predation.

    As a dedicated river angler, fishing the Thames tributaries as well as the Great Ouse I have seen them deteriorate very quickly as well. Even the river Wye is not exempt from predation as many think. A recent Salmon fishing trip revealed otter tracks on the whole 2 mile beat. They were not just there for their holidays!!!!

    As long as people keep putting their heads in the sand and not above the parapet then things will only get worse. We’re not just talking about fish predation but water fowl and voles that have cost a huge amount of time and money to conserve.

    Perhaps a joint effort with other agencies that have been affected would hold more sway. As the anti angling brigade with have a field day.

  2. We are good friends with John Wilson and must agree with him and everbody else, all our sites Rackeath Springs near Wroxham, lakes at Great and little Melton and Mill farm Tasbourgh have been severley effected by the Otter.

    If ony we had the chance to do something before the release of Otters to the environement which after all is there entitlement we may have had a chance to do something.

    To see 20lb and 30lb Carp killed by otters is heart breaking and is now having serious implications on the sport and our club membership and other wildlife around the lakes and rivers and being a club based in the heart of the Norfolk Broads is seeing the effect there to we are possibly looking to an uncertain future!

    Wroxham and District Angling Club Norfolk

  3. Greetings from a sunny office in London W1 Bob.

    Lot’s and lot’s of Otter discussions yesterday. In the most it seems most want the bloody things controlled. No one blames the Otters, just the people who thought it was a jolly good wheeze to introduce so many.

    Thank heavens some river keepers are so proactive though.



  4. Hi Bob,

    Totally agree with the need for something to be done, but isnt there provision within ‘The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010’ to……

    ‘……kill, take, disturb or possess otters or to use prohibited methods to kill or take under a licence in certain defined circumstances, if the issue cannot be resolved by any alternative means’

    I read this as meaning Otters can be culled/moved if they are wrecking business interests??



  5. Shocked! at the measures that have had to be taken to protect a small pit fishery that also supports bird-life etc, near Ditchingham Norfolk from the otters predation activities.

    It is about time this apex killer of fish, waterfowl, voles was portrayed as it really is. Not the lovely, cuddly, furry, innocent, animal that certain biased wildlife programmes/ presenters would have the largely ignorant public believe.

    Numbers have to be controlled for both the otter and cormorants on our already heavily over pressured waters.

  6. As a local stockist for garden pond fish and koi, several customers have been cleared out of fish from their garden ponds. This is a regular topic in the shop and a common problem Areas hit are from westfield in Dereham to Billingford near Swanton Morley.

    Seems the otters are eating all the natural resources and now turning to our pets.

    Its ok to shoot a Fox that Kills our sheep/pets, But not a otter that kills our pets.

    Chris High 01362 692532

  7. I have been barbel fishing the Wensum at various locations for nearly 20 years now and have had fish to 16lb plus. Not many years ago as long as conditions were favourable a fish or more per session was the norm. I have just spent an entire week off work on the river and have seen only one small fish of about 1lb (one of NACA’s last stockings I presume). The chub have all but gone. I fear we are past the point of no return as the policies of the powers that be will not allow the mass restocking needed to repair the damage and the abstraction is here to stay and will more than likely increase in years to come. The chance of culling otters is nill if you compare it to the on going battle of farmers and badgers! Sadly I think we will see some anglers and fishery owners taking the law in to their own hands to protect their waters out of pure frustration due to lack of action from the EA etc.
    RIP River Wensum? ( I sincerely hope not)
    Good luck with your campaign.

  8. hi,
    these things have spread far and wide and bred like rats rapeing/killing our fish stocks,the result of this is WE will have NO fish left to fish for.
    fencing is expensive and the bigger the water the more it costs to protect our waters.
    WHY should we pay for rod licences as this money should be used to help fence and protect our fisheries/sport.
    jim shelley

  9. I fish in north yorkshire and although not hit as badly as the norfolk suffolk areas I have noticed a marked decline in fish stocks over the last 3 years.
    Maybe a call to all anglers not to purchase a licence and restrain from fishing until the E A take note is the only weapon left to us, hit them where it hurts in the pocket, drastic I know but how long before we have no options left due to decimated fish stocks.

  10. I have just recently cancelled my RSPB membership. The support they give to the poorly researched introduction , and re-introduction of both avian and mammal species is not something I wish to further.

  11. Hi in reply to your message, i have today come back from a days fishing at a local lake . in pebmarsh essex/suffolk borders, i spoke recently to a club official who stated that an otter had been seen and caught at the lake by the owner i might add, but upon todays visit i noticed a few large runs leading through lakeside reeds and shrubs, and along all these runs were an unbelievable amount of freshwater mussel shells, now im no expert but to me this looks like a presence of otters , would you agree,

  12. My Son and I recently spent a day (16/6/2012) on the Wensum at the Wensum valley golf and country club. As this was our first visit to that particular spot, I tried to research our trip as much as possible. Whereupon I found the report above. I wrote to the Hotel voicing my grave concerns, their reply very much played down what was in the report.

    We fished various methods and bait, one being trotted double maggot to a 14 hook.

    My son caught 1 small roach all day long, I had none and between us we did not catch any Dace or Perch. We did however catch two nice sized Chubb, so there are some fish left there.

    This is the third year running that we have travelled up to the famous river Wensum, unfortunately next year it will be the Thames.

  13. Opening paragraph says His local waters-well, his local waters are around Hertfordshire, like so many others, he came to Norfolk for a holiday and realised what an unspoilt county this was,unfortunately,his type has invaded ,just like the grey squirrel, then all they do is moan. Wilson is nothing to do with Norfolk,just another immigrant who moans about cormorants,otters and anything else that he happens to disagree with-why not go back to your lovely Lea Valley. Why not do a survey to find out how many non natives live in Norfolk-then talk about invasive species? The places that you fish and have taken over with “london money” i knew in the 60s, you have no idea how much it hurts to see this county over run with those from HERTS/ESSEX and KENT/LONDON.

    • @NORFOLART: Oh no! Soon there’ll be no webbed fingers and toes left in Norfolk if these foreigners keep hybridising with the natives!

      Last time I checked Norfolk isn’t a different country and there isn’t a checkpoint at the county boundary! Presumably you’d want such things?

      What about fish that swim down or up river and cross boundary lines? Do you get the hump with them too?

      Do you shake your fist at migrating birds? Possibly shout “F**K OFF BACK TO AFRICA!” at the swallows perched on your garden fence?

      • good on you olly well said mate norfolkart is 0ne of a small minority of true webbed feet norfolk folk left,well ime sorry i dont sleep with my sister and my dad isnt my brother and my mum is not my nan! come on norfolkart stop being shallow just becouse of a place of birth, and it seems that you just want to have a dig at willson (ledgend) not discuss the matter at hand just shows you what sort of humans we are dealing with

  14. I am a bailiff and commitee member of the famous and long standing bungay cherry tree club on the norfolk suffolk border,Our stretches of the waveney have been very badly affected by otters and cormorants and some stretches have virtually no fish left at all,ellingham was my favourite stretch for the last few years and my best catch being 24 chub averaging 3lb and upto near 6lbs in an afternoon…you could always catch a few chub in an evening session in that stretch but now a blank is all too common,also our club lake has had to be fenced at great cost due to being utterly cleaned out by otters,this state of affairs is unsustainable and action should be taken NOW !

    Keep up the good work John

    • I will add however that out club pit at ditchingham has been restocked to great quality now,and the fishing is recovering after much work put in by members and committee,sadly we can not do much to sort the river problems without some help from the EA who are very quick to take license money and not spend it as it should be used,

  15. I am astounded at the EA when they have the audacity to demand payment for fishing licences when their indiscriminate re-introduction of otters has resulted in the tragic decimation of our fish stocks. This is particularly noticeable in Norfolk in areas like the Broads and rivers. Anyone who doubts this should take a look at the report by Chris Turnbull, . Look it up on the Internet! My own and my neighbour’s experience is personal in that our ponds were raided by otters. I lost my only three ghost koi to 6lb and she lost all twenty carp to 10lb within two weeks, with plenty of evidence including dead fish with chewed tails and one or two bites taken out, plus spraints. (droppings). Bear in mind that we are three miles from the nearest river! Perhaps the RSPB will support us when all the fish have disappeared and the otters start on water birds, which they surely will do!

  16. When did anyone last see an elver or catch a small eel, all the old angling books said that otters liked eels above all else. With the demise of eel stocks, added to the lack of other fish that swim upstream from the sea (sea trout, salmon smelt etc) no nutrients are being carried back into the rivers, just washed downstream. The “fluffy bunny” brigade must learn that simple re-introduction is not the answer. If the nutrients from migratory fish were available then the otters would feed on these as well as coarse fish and the natural predator/prey balance would be restored. Until then otter/cormorant culls are a must.

  17. As a kid, I was lucky enough to fish regularly at the wonderful gravel pits near Little Paxton, Cambs, which produced some very nice fish of all sorts. It was also a birdwatcher’s paradise and for years the twitchers and anglers lived in harmony. There were huge numbers of all sorts of birds around, which added enormously to the experience of fishing there.
    Then the cormorants moved in…….
    The lakes that I used to fish are now almost sterile. You’d have more chance of catching a specimen fish in a puddle in my back garden! To make matters worse, the birdwatchers have also left, since the birds have all gone as well. The islands in the lake now have dead trees on them, as all the cormorant faeces has killed them. The birds still roost there, but fly over to local reservoir, Grafham Water, for a feed, as this is a commercial trout fishery, so the pickings are rich.

  18. Shockingly I have seen two Otters, one whilst canoeing along the River Wensum between Costessey Mill and Taverham Mill some years ago and it was eating a good sized chub near Macks Farm, then a year or so later I was carp fishing the Norwich Union lake Swim B at Lenwade when suddenly a massive stream of bubbles appeared on the water surface about 5 metres out to the right of my swim and an Otters head appeared before disappearing under the water to carry on its hunt. I reeled in and packed up, went home and never fished the lake again. Far to many Otters and to many Cormorants for an even balance.

  19. Pingback: Otters!!! - Koi Forum Website

  20. Here here. A very accurate and factual account. Please accept this as the case from a local angler of more than 30 years experience.

    Something must be done ASAP. This is people’s businesses livelihoods and enjoyment of our countryside which is under threat of extinction now. Not the otters.

  21. I think their are too many otters and cormorant now ,time to start a cull i believe.

  22. my mother and father bought nunnery farm shipmeadow nr beccles in 69 70. I was born in 73. This farm lies in the Waveney valley between beccles and bungay on the river Waveney, an area that I know for a fact john Wilson fished regularly in them days. In 1969, the man that taught me the art of fishing, warned the cherry tree angling club of bungay that the unregulated release of otters into the river Waveney by Philip ware posed a serious risk to fishing in the Waveney valley.HOW RIGHT HE WAS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The dykes and waterways that teamed with specimen carp,tench and bream and are mere shadow of what they were in the 80s. I know because I witnessed their destruction by otters with my own eyes. When will the powers that be, wake up and realise that this apex predator was controlled in the 60s and 70s because it is so destructive. Giving protection by law to this predatorial pest is denying future generations the enjoyment we had as children. Enjoyment that keeps errant young generations from committing mayhem on our streets. This predator is so highly adaptive that when fish stocks diminish it is content to destroy bird life, including endangered species like the bittern. I BEG the government to impose controls on otters before its too late to protect our waterways of the many species of bird and fish that we enjoyed when we were children. ACTION NOW PLEASE.