Otters. there's a thing..

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Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:54 pm

Well lets see if this will get you talking, or do you not see them.
Three weeks ago, I saw five Otters in a hundred yards on my beloved Stour, they ARE in your river believe me, how do you feel about it? Mad or do you not care!!!!
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  TenchmanTim on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:11 pm

Iain,
I've spent quite a few evenings on the Welland and very rarely encounter them now. We did go through a period where they seemed to be everywere, but they seem to have spread out a bit now. Having said that, I did have a very close encounter a week or so ago on the Welland in the dark when one came right up in front of me and had a good snuffle about before clearing off.
I think they can be a problem to 'top end' specimens, but on a lot of rivers there are many more significant issues with the lack of fish. Poor recruitment due to floods and lack of habitat, small fish predation from Cormorants etc.
I'm open for debate!
Martin
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:15 pm

Hope some more are too mate.
Off now,lets see if we get some response, I am up for a debate as well.
come on lads...
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  baitboss on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Otters are definately bad news. On the Upper Severn you always see mink but they are thinning out as the farmers regularly allow working dogs to patrol the banks to flush them out. Now I had a good chat with my mate Denzil when I was picking up some bait ingredients and he told me he had seen a pair of otters on the Welshpool stretch of the Severn. A few phone calls later and the otters seem to have dissappeared from the stretch! I know for a fact that the Ouse above Bedford is absolutely crawling with otters and a lot of the big chub and barbel have fallen victim to the otter. Kevin Tolmie told me that certain stretches are almost devoid of barbel and chub now and that the otters have moved off to plunder other stretches. An interesting thing Kevin said was that he floatfished a 'dead' stretch for a bit of fun with his son and caught 100's of roach and small chub. Obviously the otters conserve energy by attacking the big girls that are not fast enough which is why captures are right down. Now its good that there are lots of small fish to hopefully grow up to become the next wave of big sixes and sevens but you are looking at least 6-7 years to attain these weights.
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  micfoot807 on Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:13 am

Hello Iain me old mate,

You know my opinion on the bloody things. As ever their re-introduction has been totally mishandled and not thought through. Firstly before they disappeared their main food source was eels, so they wait until the European eels are all but gone themselves and then stick them back in an environment where they have to adapt to a lack of eels and look elsewhere for nourishment. This also will impact on the few eels that remain as if they haven`t got it hard enough as it is.

Secondly; many of them are not even an indigenous species, they are Indian short clawed otters, how does that work? We can`t get the real thing so we`ll get something that looks similar! but these could have a totally different way of impacting on the habitat they are introduced into.

In the next few years I`m sure they will have a serious effect on stocks of many rivers (and stillwaters), especially on larger and to us most desirable residents. Now no doubt, as with mink, comorants, zander.catfish and a whole host of other introduced or re-introduced predators after time a balance will eventually be found between the predators and their prey but until then the damage could be far reaching for specimen anglers.

I have seen them on the Dorset Stour, Kennet, Wey and Thames now. I saw one on the Thames several times and it was obviously nesting? in the base of the large willow, under who`s branches I had my 8lb7oz chub. I don`t even want to think what that fishes fate may have been.

I`m afraid that now the ball is rolling we will be able to do nothing except stand by and watch this environmental cock up unfold.

Next time you have a curry, order a chicken tarka! it`s like a chicken tikka but it`s a little otter.

Mic


Last edited by micfoot807 on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:42 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:19 pm

PMSL?????????? Its no laughing matter, look what you've started now Mr Foot, turned my post into ridicule.
Back to the subject , if there's any more willing to have there say?
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  baitboss on Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:30 pm

Sorry Sir

Only laughing at his curry! I shall now delete the silly bit Embarassed

Been speaking to another angler who states that now that the otters have decimated his stretch of river and eaten all the big fish, the otters have now taken a fancy to swans and rabbits...whats next
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:59 pm

What next indeed Darren.
I for one feel it will end with a river devoid of fish, The Otters will starve to death after failing to find suitable food stocks after all the fish and other sources have been wiped out.
A grim tale maybe, but what is the alternative?

ps only joking you didn't need to wipe your post.
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  TenchmanTim on Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:45 am

Whilst a bit of mutual, verbal otter bashing may make us all feel a little better, I think there are other issues which are playing an equal part in our rivers problems, if not bigger parts!
If we are only looking at the, relative, short term of big fish hunting then yes otters almost certainly pose the greatest threat. But, surely long term other problems are just as serious.
There are deeper problems with many rivers if otters can cause such obvious destruction. Surely if a river had a healthy population of fish such as the Wye appears to have they should be able to sustain a level of predation from otters.
The problems we have noticed on rivers such as the Stour and Ouse particularly are so obvious because there was already a diminished stock of fish. This, I feel is where the problem really lies. Obviously I don't have the answers. But I do feel cormorants still pose a significant threat and I don't believe they have yet found a balance. I have witnessed this birds rape a stretch of river and disappear, only to return and repeat the process a few years later when the stretch begins to recover. There are also various problems with recruitment of small fish due to varying local issues, over dredging and sheep dip leakage being a couple local to me. Crayfish etc elsewhere.
Anyway enough of my ranting, cheers for now. Martin
Ps Please don't think this is pro otter, as I think the 'over introduction' of the creatures on an unsuspecting environment was criminal!!
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:55 pm

Martin.
Whilst I agree with most you say, I do not agree that there are yet!!!!! diminished fish stocks on the Stour.
A look in the summer will show healthy stocks of all species. Its surprising how big the chub shoals are on some parts,but in winter you would think there were none there . And I am catching plenty of smaller fish to make me think things will be ok for some time, if something doesn't upset the balance!!.
As for the Wye, I think it is a unique river with high fish stocks due the environment it runs through.
It will obviously put up with a lot more pressure than a smaller river, like the Stour.
I feel in time both will be devastated by a creature, which by the most part is not indigenous to this country.
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  TenchmanTim on Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:21 pm

Fair points Iain, I accept the Wye is probably unique, and bigger rivers can definitely handle the pressure better. The impact of ottters is always much more obvious on smaller rivers. They are definitely a major additional problem to some already vulnerable environments.
Martin
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  micfoot807 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:05 am

Iain and co

Got my serious head on here, for once.

Although I agree with almost all of that said here, I`ve also been fishing long enough to know that our river systems are in a state of constant metamorphosis. We may think that they never change but a myriad of factors combine to effect what ever situation they are in and they adapt and develop to each and every new pressure, maybe not always for the better obviously.

The Stour for instance, I grew up reading and watching stuff concerning Jack Hargreaves, Owen Wentworth, Dave Stueart and many other giants who trod the banks of the Stour (funny I`ve never been interested in fishing the Hampshire Avon in the same way that the Stour drew me) Back in their day a 5lb chub was a very good one and although the occasional bigger fish was caught generally an angler`s season was judged on how many fours he could catch. I myself took 3 winters (from October to March, every Saturday and as much holiday and sick as I could manage) to catch my first 5lber, that was in the late 70`s early 80`s. Now before you all tell me, I know I`m not the best chub angler but the fact of the matter is big chub just were`nt there in any quantity. Maybe the current state of the river with so many extraordinarily large chub is just another freakish result of external influences effecting the state of the waterway?

I`m not trying to excuse the constant meddling in the environment by so called experts who have wreaked havoc in our countryside. I`m just making the point that whatever the reason, our rivers will never stay the same, much as we`d love them to when they are producing fish of the quality that the Stour is currently. If it wasn`t otters it would something else; low water levels, floods, eutrophication, abstraction, predator/prey cycles, Eastern Europeans et al.

So what am I saying? basically this; although I`m all for trying to change things that we can have some influence over, we also have to accept that what ever we do the rivers we love will never stay the same from one season to the next. I think as anglers we all suffer a little from living in the moment and not taking a step back to look at the long term, after all I think to be an angler for any length of time you have to be a optimist of huge proportions (especially on the Thames, 10 bream last night aaarrgghh!!) but we also have to temper that with a dose of realism every now and then and accept that change will happen.

Mic
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  baitboss on Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:10 am

Very interesting Mic and spot on with your last point. We are Im afraid going to have to live with the fact that we have raped the resorces of the sea to such an extent that natural predators such as cormorants have been forced to search for food inland and this is even happening now with common seals plundering fish stocks in the Kentish Eden. Otters (hate them or hate them) are here to stay and there may be some sort of balancing out in the future but in the short term I feel that a few desperate anglers will get caught shooting otters which will then make headline news, thus further blighting our reputation further as 'killers.
'
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  JayZS on Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:38 pm

Firstly, Mic: where did you get the information that the released otters are Indian Short clawed? I am afraid I just do not believe that for one moment. References?

A survey has found that most of the increase in otters has actually been due to wild individuals breeding, rather than effects due to the addition of introduced specimens. And the otter has always been indigenous to the UK, so nothing new here. Otters would have increased nearly as rapidly even without those introductions.

I saw my first ever wild otter last year, and I treasure those two minutes, never seen one before and they are still very rare in most of the North West....however I don't mind at all if they increase.
------------------------------------
Anglers cannot, simply cannot, campaign for an otter cull. To do so is suicide, the general public will be very much agaist anglers the instant that this is suggested. It is going to be difficult to get them on our sides in the fight against cormorants, and adding otters, a furry, and highly entertaing creature, the subject of many wildlife TV programs, a successful film and a book, is going to alienate the public to a very large degree. Think about what happened to fox hunting. Not too many people like foxes...otters are another thing entirely.

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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  micfoot807 on Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:20 am

Jayzs

I didn`t say that all otters released are Asian/Indian short clawed, but through my job, which does involve contact with all the major players concerned with the re-establishment of the otter, I have been told that breeding pairs of short clawed otters are at large in this country.

As for the increase in numbers being due to wild individuals breeding, that may now be true but only once they have been reintroduced and not as you seem to be claiming that they are once more spreading due to the natural re-emergence of wild otters. I do not believe they would have spread as quickly without intervention.

I am not calling for an otter cull, if you went to the trouble of actually reading, rather than just scanning my previous posts you would be aware that I am resigned to the constant change of our watercourses through factors within or beyond our control. Otters are just another challenge to the fish stocks in our already under pressure watercourses and will no doubt settle into their niche in the predator/ prey spectrum eventually. What damage they will do in the interim we will have to wait and see but it doesn`t mean I have to be happy about it. I have lived and enjoyed our countryside for over 50 years without the otter, also without wolves, wild boar (yes I know there are some in Kent etc), european bison, beavers and a score of other once indigenous creatures, nature evolves, changes and adapts and whether we like it our not reintroduction of once native creatures makes us just as guilty of meddling with the natural course of things as the acts which eradicated them in the first place.

Mic
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  JayZS on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:57 am

Interesting Mic. You accuse me of not reading your posts and then immediately launch into a major misreading of my own post. I asked for documentary evidence for the short clawed otter introductions. I did not imply that you had stated all introductions were of that species. All you have given me so far is hearsay. Perhaps you may be able to substantiate your claim for these introductions? If Indian Short Clawed otters are in the wild here then I would be astonished if they were not simply escapees from zoos. It is totally inconceiveable that the otter Trust would release non native species.

My plea not to call for an otter cull was aimed at anglers in general, I have no idea why you should suggest that I thought that you, yourself, had called for a cull. I said no such thing. Again read what I say too before firing ineffective and mis-aimed broadsides.

Equally, it was not myself claiming that the major increase has not been due to the introductions. I quoted from a survey. Unlike yourself I am prepared to give documentary evidence for the statements. Have a look at the first section of a statement from the EA website, attached below:
The full statement is available on the EA website.

Note carefully the following extracts

1) The only otter species in the UK is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). Kind of flies in the face of what your contacts have been telling you, does it not?

2) Now descendants of the released otters form only a tiny proportion of the otter population of England, and most wild otters are the result of the natural recovery of the species after the banning of toxic pesticides.
Again, this seems to support my post quite well.

I quite like the title : Otters - The Facts
__________________________________________________________-
OTTERS - THE FACTS
The purpose of this fact sheet
The recovery of otters in the UK is impacting inland fisheries through predation. The situation is complex, and it is not clear why some waters have not been affected, even though otters are present.
The Angling Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England and others are working together to improve understanding about the interactions between otters and fish. This document summarises our current knowledge and is intended as a starting point for further work. It does not present solutions; these can only be found by working together and will be explored in further publications.
Introduction
The only otter species in the UK is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), one of a number of species found worldwide.
Otters re-colonised the British Isles after the last Ice Age, and they were widespread across the whole landmass during much of the intervening 10,000 years. More recently, otters were present throughout Great Britain in the early 1950s, but from the mid-1950s to late 1970s there was a dramatic decline. This mirrored what was happening across much of Europe. The decline occurred across Scotland, England and Wales, but it was most dramatic in England. By the late 1970s the only healthy populations were in parts of Scotland, although small populations remained in Wales and northern and south-western England.
Reason for Decline
The decline of otters was closely linked to the introduction of certain organochlorine pesticides – such as dieldrin – that were used in agricultural seed dressings, and sheep dips. When first used these chemicals were applied in very high doses and caused large-scale mortalities among many animals. Their impacts were greatest among top predators, notably birds of prey and mammals, because of the way these chemicals build up in the food chain.
After dieldrin and related chemicals were withdrawn from use, bird populations recovered relatively quickly. Otters that had survived in areas with low-intensity agriculture also responded, though more slowly because of their relatively low breeding rate and, unlike birds, their inability to cover large distances.
Recovery
Natural Recovery
At the lowest point of the decline, in the late 1970s, otters were absent from parts of Scotland, much of Wales and most of England. In England, the first national otter survey in 1977-79 found evidence of otters at only 6% of sites examined. Since then, the surviving otter population has expanded eastward and southward from Wales, south-west and northern England; Wales and Scotland are now extensively occupied and England’s population, though still expanding, has few large gaps outside the south-east corner of the country (see the Fifth Otter Survey of England report 2009-2010, available from the publications calalogue on the Environment Agency website ).

Direct counting of otters is impossible due to their mobility, often secretive behaviour and largely nocturnal habit. Otter surveys are therefore based simply on presence and absence of otters as shown by field signs such as spraints (faeces) and footprints. It is not possible to use these data to estimate numbers, given the flexibility in the size of otter territories and the inability to distinguish between individuals using field signs. While the distribution and frequency of field signs is used as an indicator of the health of the population locally, any estimate of numbers would be highly speculative. Nevertheless, it is likely that there are several thousand otters present in England today.
Role of Reintroductions
In the early 1980s, when it looked as though otters might be lost completely from England, the Nature Conservancy Council (now Natural England) worked with the Otter Trust to develop a reintroduction programme to repopulate parts of Eastern England with captive-bred otters. The intention was to try and ensure some continuation of occupancy and allow any surviving otters to interbreed with released ones and perhaps keep any locally adapted genes in the population. At that time there was no evidence of a natural recovery, but as this situation changed and there were signs of a slow natural recovery, most organisations involved in otter conservation preferred to rely on this rather than on re-introductions to restore otter populations in the UK.
The Otter Trust released 117 captive-bred otters between 1983 and 1999, mostly on East Anglian rivers, but with some elsewhere. Their last release was of 17 otters on the upper Thames catchment over a six-month period in 1999.
The Vincent Wildlife Trust released a further 49 rehabilitated animals (i.e. orphaned and injured wild otters kept in captivity until fit for release) between 1990 and 1996, many of these as part of a release programme in Yorkshire.
By the early 1990s it was clear that a strong natural recovery of otters from their strongholds in Wales and south-west England meant that reintroductions were no longer necessary, and by the end of the decade the Otter Trust’s programme was wound up. Now descendants of the released otters form only a tiny proportion of the otter population of England, and most wild otters are the result of the natural recovery of the species after the banning of toxic pesticides.The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Wildlife Trusts concentrated on encouraging natural recovery through improving river habitat, and they continue to do so.
Release of Rehabilitated Otters
A few orphaned and injured otters are taken into care by the RSPCA and other wildlife rehabilitation centres each year. The RSPCA has developed a protocol for the care and release of these animals which has been agreed with the Otter Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Steering Group (see below). Other rehabilitation centres are encouraged to follow these guidelines.
There is a legal requirement to return these animals to the wild once they are fit for release. Cubs may be kept for over 12 months as they need to be mature enough to fend for themselves before release. The numbers involved are very small compared to the numbers of wild otters now present – on average less than ten otters a year. Releases should be as near as possible to where they were found, but pairs of cubs found in different locations that are later reared together may go back to the point of origin of one of them. There is no programme of using rehabilitated otters to colonise currently vacant catchments.
Institutional Roles
:

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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  micfoot807 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:55 am

Jayzs

Again read my posts. I never asked you to believe me, in fact it is of so little consequence to me that you give anything I say credence that I wasn`t going to reply to this as I can`t be bothered to get into another argument with someone who is already so certain of himself. This time I didn`t even get to the end of your post, boredom set in very early. Otters are there, I can`t change that, don`t want to change it actually, if it wasn`t them it`d be something else. If it wasn`t this challenge to our watercourses it would be some other interference. You`ve obviously joined the forum to spout your beliefs about otters, I joined to have some chat and banter with my mates and can`t be arsed to spend hours arguing about something I have no control over with someone who I couldn`t care less if they believed, agreed or cared what I said. You`ll have to look somewhere else for your fun sonny because I am already bored with this, as were the forum members if the time between the last post and your arrival seems to show.

Mic
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  JayZS on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:40 am

All I asked was that you justify your statement about short clawed otters being in the wild in the UK. A simple admission that you were wrong would have sufficed, rather than the childish diatribe you have decided to use instead.
I am certain that the EA otters report is accurate, and it was on that basis I was so sure of myself. Your assertions fell well into the fantasy league, and it is just unfortunate that someone, rather than just sit there and be your audience, decided to query the verity of your post.
Produce the facts to support your argument Mic. Otherwise go back and read the rest of "Ring of Bright Water". That may relieve your boredom.

"I am losing this argument, so I will pretend to be bored." is hardly the best way to prove your point.
Sad really.

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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  micfoot807 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:12 am

Yawn (not pretending)
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  TenchmanTim on Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:10 pm

'News Asian otters thrive in chilly Oxford river!' This is a headline from The Independent newspaper. Not that recent I admit, but just a quick search on Google immediately produced this 'evidence' that they live in the UK.
I just thought I'd throw my hat into the ring in what appears to be a rather acerbic conversation!
Hopefully JayZS you'll see my from my previous posts on this issue that I'm not 'anti otter', so I hope you'll consider my response to this latest bout of hostilities between yourself and Mic?
I would suggest that you did 'imply' Mic had stated that all introductions were of that species. When your opening statement was 'Firstly, Mic: where did you get the information that the released otters are Indian Short clawed?' I would say the inference of 'the ... otters' meant all?
Also you mention Anglers shouldn't campaign for an otter cull. That could also be an implication that that is the feeling of those on the forum?
I also think simply because a document is titled OTTERS THE FACTS, does not mean it's gospel. Anyone could write a document and call it FACT! 'Facts' can be perceived and redistributed in many ways, I'm sure a clever enough anti otter campaigner could provide alternative 'facts'.
I think for an opening post on this forum, yours has come across as unnecessarily argumental and I don't think you understand the general tone of this forum. It is, or at least was, simply a place a few anglers can chat and mull over relevant issues. Sometimes a potentially controversial subject may arise and is dealt with in a light hearted manner.
I've read the posts on this issue and whilst there is obviously some frustration at a creature that undoubtedly (And, no, I don't have firm evidence of this, but I doubt even you don't think they don't eat big fish?) nobbles the odd specimen that we would have loved to have landed ourselves, I don't think at any stage there's been a call to cull otters? Just an acceptance of another hurdle we have to clear to enjoy our sport.
You'll probably find loads of 'holes' in my post too as this seems to be what you want to do. But if you do, I think you will have misunderstood my point.
I hope this is all done now and that we can return to the friendly, humorous topics and posts we've managed until now?
I look forward to hearing about your fishing JayZS, and your days out on the riverbank enjoying our wonderful countryside, otters and all
All the best, Martin B
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  baitboss on Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:00 pm

Just like to put my own little piece in about forum conduct. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, whether they are right or wrong on the subject in question. However, it is not good to have a slanging match on the forum as it is childish and does not make for good reading. I strongly advise anyone writing on this forum to refrain from personal comments and hearsay for all to read, and instead contact the person directly rather than publicly. Lets get back to a bit of normal banter, as well as some serious discussion.
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  kev tolmie on Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:42 pm

I dont often post but I will also put my view forward.
I am not anti otter but believe a BALANCE is needed in nature and at the moment it is certainly not balanced,the so called facts referred to are indeed far from the true facts and there are many lies incorporated into the statements mentioned,
I personally do not believe everything the enviroment agency,natural england etc say in their reports as i feel they are mainly used to promote and justify their own actions,
Living so close to the river and observing as much as fishing it ,I think Icanhonestly say I have a better understanding than someone who goes around counting droppings.
I have been challenged by otters,had them come right by me in broad daylight,witnessed several waterfowl being taken,seen 5 playing together ,approx 3 years ago, so introduced,and have seen evidence of suspicious behaviour at night involving some sort of cage.
As I say I love all nature but I feel the enviroment has to be able to support any changes made especially where we as humans are the root cause of affecting the balance and it should not be to the detriment of other species,whereby they are then placed in the same position as the introduced species.
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  Jerry Gleeson on Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:55 pm

whether some of us like to admit it or not, otters have caused a massive problem and ruined some fisheries in parts of the country, other rivers have a balance and some have none, my local river has no otters but had a terrible crayfish infestation back in the 90s and cormorants a few yrs ago, prior to this we had a good head of roach, gudgeon, dace, now we have none we also have no streamer weed where it was once abundant, these smaller fish species and lack of streamer weed apeared to happen at the start or just after the crayfish infestation, slightly off topic but i wondered what peoples thoughts were, what silver fish were left were taken by the cormorants, now we have big chub and big barbel, there are 1 or 2 back up fish but hardly if any smaller species.

jerry
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  nairny on Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:46 pm

nairny wrote:Well lets see if this will get you talking, or do you not see them.
Three weeks ago, I saw five Otters in a hundred yards on my beloved Stour, they ARE in your river believe me, how do you feel about it? Mad or do you not care!!!!
Mic
Sorry you had to go through that, I hope the end of the slanging match has come. Shocked
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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

Post  JayZS on Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:01 pm

Nairny, are you not sorry we BOTH had to go through that? A slanging match, if that is what you choose to call it, is hardly one sided.
If you are not sorry, then never mind, for I have already received an apology (via PM, so I will respect his confidentiality) from another regular poster in the forum.

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Re: Otters. there's a thing..

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