There is little doubt that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and anglers have been at loggerheads over cormorants with both sides struggling to concede to the other’s view.
From an angler’s perspective, it feels like the RSPB have dug their heels in and are choosing to ignore world-wide figures that suggest there are too many cormorants.
Angling Trust chief officer Mark Lloyd gave a host of facts and figures on a recent screening of BBC’s The One Show in favour of keeping cormorant numbers under control.
He claimed that in this country alone there are at least 30,000 of them, each consuming at least a pound of fish a day.
In response, RSPB spokesman John Knott suggested that the birds were not having much impact on current fish stocks.
He went on to blame anglers for overstocking in the first place – although he did have a point there, especially on the commercials, some of which have been heavily overstocked.
What he did not take into consideration is our river system where some of them have been completely stripped of fish.
When I was a young man our local river (Wharfe) was alive with fish with some huge shoals of dace. And venues like Boston Spa, Tadcaster and Ulleskelf were full of them.