19 July 2011
Angling Trust launches Cormorant Watch micro-site
Angling’s representative body, the Angling Trust, has launched a new web site for anglers to record sightings of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers throughout the UK: www.cormorantwatch.org.
The new site is easy to use and will gather vital data to help persuade government of the need for action to protect fisheries. In its first week nearly 1,000 anglers submitted over 7,000 sightings and now less than a month later over 1,800 anglers have reported 13,185 birds. The Angling Trust is urging anglers to use the site in the coming three months so that they can compare existing numbers of cormorants with birds that come to the UK in the winter months. The Angling Trust succeeded in persuading the Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to carry out a review of the licensing procedures and he has stated that he is prepared to take “bold decisions”. As part of this review, the Trust needs data on the abundance of cormorants and their impact on anglers and fisheries to convince the government to take decisive action. Anglers can record sightings and activity of cormorants anywhere in the UK, directly onto a Google Maps driven micro-site at www.cormorantwatch.org. Users are able to scroll around the map then zoom in to view details of each recorded cormorant sighting and watch the real picture of cormorant predation in UK waters build up week by week. The Trust’s aim is to persuade DEFRA to simplify licensing procedures and allow greater controls on cormorant numbers. It is hoped that this data will also be factored into a wider pan European study on cormorants. Angling Trust Chief executive Mark Lloyd commented “This is a moment when anglers need to stand up and be counted. If people don’t record sightings of cormorants and other fish eating birds on this site, then the politicians and civil servants will not have the information they need to make decisions which could affect the future of fishing for the next generation. It takes less than a minute to record a sighting. All anglers who see one of these birds in the next few months must make the effort to visit cormorantwatch.org and put a pin in the map, whether they are a member of the Angling Trust or not.” Go to www.cormorantwatch.org - it only takes a minute and don't forget add the site to your Facebook and Twitter. Hugh Miles, angling and wildlife film maker said “I'm a fanatical roach angler which is rather unfortunate because most of my favourite stretches of river have been devastated by cormorants. So I'm delighted that the Angling Trust are taking up our cause in the hope of ensuring we still have fish to catch. Join the Trust now to add your voice to the campaign to SAVE OUR FISH.” Martin James, BBC angling broadcaster and author said “If we are to achieve our aim in getting the law changed to protect our waters from cormorant predation we must all work together. Support the Angling Trust.” David Mannall, Director and Commercial Manager, The Carp Society said “The Carp Society actively supports the Angling Trust's cormorant watch initiative. Play your part by using the cormorant watch mapping website and, if you haven't done so already join the Angling Trust and support the initiatives they are working on to ensure we anglers have a voice at the highest level.” Dave Harrell, England Match Angler said "Every angler I know has been affected by cormorants, goosanders and mergansers. Go to www.cormorantwatch.org to report your sightings so that angling can no longer be ignored. If you want to make a stand use the website then join the Angling Trust - they are fighting for your fishing and need your support." Dr Bruno Broughton, leading fisheries management consultant, expert on cormorant predation and Angling Trust life member, urged anglers to join the study “Anglers can play an important role by contributing to this survey. By building a nationwide picture of the distribution and behaviour of cormorants, these facts can be used to inform future efforts to protect vulnerable fisheries. It is futile to complain from the sidelines about the impacts of cormorants on fisheries without doing something about it. I encourage every angler to join the Trust, get involved and make a difference.” Sean O'Driscoll, The Angling Trades Association said “By attracting sponsorship from the industry's major players for their new cormorantwatch.org website, The Angling Trust have shown how vital it is for all those in the angling trade to take notice of the efforts their representative body is making to secure a positive future for the sport.”