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Anglers fight back against otter threat

PUBLISHED: 08:01 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 06 July 2010

Otters are threatening fish stocks

Otters are threatening fish stocks

Anglers keen to protect their fish stocks in local lakes from attack by otters are to campaign for financial help from the government.

Anglers keen to protect their fish stocks in local lakes from attack by otters are to campaign for financial help from the government.

The region's fisheries and angling clubs are expected to join forces later this month and call on Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England to stump up funding which could help pay for otter-proof fencing to protect valuable carp and other fish.

Otters eat up to 15pc of their own body weight in mostly fish each day, but as a protected species anglers and fishery owners are powerless to act to try to deter them from their precious stock.

Currently, no financial assistance is available for affected fisheries and clubs, with fencing often running in to tens of thousands of pounds.

Mark Castro, general secretary of Bungay Cherry Tree Angling Club, is calling on those affected to come to the club's annual general meeting next Friday , after which all information will be collated and forwarded to the Angling Trust.

He claims all big fish that had been in the club's lake at Ditchingham since 1947 are now dead because of otters, but is keen to stress that he is not opposed to otters or their reintroduction.

“What we are asking for is funding for vulnerable clubs that don't have enough money to pay for fencing. The lowest quote I have had is £11,000, and we simply don't have that kind of money.

“Defra and other bodies should put a fund together to help us as it's unfair that we should suffer the consequences of otters being reintroduced to the wild. Nearly every club in the area has some sort of otter problem.

“It is very sad to clear up the bones of a fish that has been in the lake since the 1940s and then been eaten by an otter. If the money had been released four or five years ago we wouldn't have this problem now”

The rally cry coincides with the grisly discovery of the savaged remains of a weighty fish which was infamous among anglers in Norwich.

The carp, affectionately known as Dimples, had lived in the broad at the University of East Anglia for many years and weighed in at 27lb when last caught by the UEA's angling club.

Angler Jim Tyree, who lives in Hellesdon, near Norwich, emailed the photograph to the EDP and called for “positive action” to deal with the issue.

“This sort of thing is happening all over East Anglia, costing thousands of pounds worth in dead fish, most of which are irreplaceable,” said Mr Tyree.

“Is it not time the Environment Agency got involved and made some commitment to fisheries and their precious fish?

“We need answers, action and not silence as we appear to be getting at the moment.

“I would like the fishing licence to be suspended this season until the bodies responsible take some positive action. Otters eat around 20pc of their own body weight in a day and I calculate we have around 300 otters in Norfolk alone.”

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