Time to learn facts of our natural life

Kingfishers: Showing anglers how to catch fish

Kingfishers: Showing anglers how to catch fish

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MAYBE it comes from sitting, hunched over a rod for hours on end.

But fishermen are a funny lot, in my book.

And most of them I come across are a dirty lot too.

They abandon old folding chairs, umbrellas, broken keep nets at the banks of pools and rivers.

I have even seen sleeping bags and tents discarded after fishermen have moved on.

But worst of all is the litter they dump.

Everything from crisp packets and bottles to bread wrappers and - most popular - empty sweetcorn tins. Rusting, alongside the lager cans.

Never mind the rest of us.

We obviously don’t count in their world. They don’t give a jot that we have to wade through their debris when we fancy a stroll in the waterside countryside.

But whatever possesses them to sit for hour after hour in their own filth?

I know there are good anglers, people who take their litter home and would never dream of depositing a skipload of scrap in their wake.

There might even be some who meticulously scoop up discarded fishing line.

But from my own observations, I am positive that the muck and mire around the pools where I stroll every morning has been left by fishermen.

But should I be surprised?

Is it worth getting my knickers in a twist?

After all these are the same people who are so wrapped up in their own little world that they have decided to wage war on the forces of the natural world.

Like Canute, they are trying to hold back the inevitable tides of Nature.

You see, the Angling Trust has written to the Fisheries Ministry asking them to cut the red tape tangling up the process which allows fishery owners to kill fish-eating birds.

With the boom of the sport and the creation of ever more inland fisheries, there has been an increase in some areas of birds such as cormorants, mergansers and goosanders.

And, guess what. The birds, whose diet is almost exclusively fish, eat fish in the fisheries.

What did the fishery people expect? Having, in effect, laid out a buffet for birds they are beating their breasts at the prospect that cormorants will show the anglers how to catch fish.

It is not against the law to control birds which may be damaging a fishery’s business. But the rules are on the birds’ side.

And quite right too.

They need protection from our grasping, self-serving, grubby little world.

And they certainly can do without a relaxation of the restrictions on keeping down their numbers at fisheries.

The rules are quite clear. And they are clearly there to make sure birds are not persecuted for the sake of profit.

For instance, fisheries with more than 60 cormorants perched in nearby trees can apply for a licence to shoot two birds a year.

The Angling Trust wants fishery managers to be given permission to control bird numbers all year round with no limit on the number of birds that can be shot.

That is an outrageous demand and one which should never be contemplated.

People who choose to run fisheries should appreciate that they are forging an alliance, a partnership, with our wildlife. It is for them to accommodate nature, not the other way round.

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