The question of our Barbel fish stocks and fish stocks in general is a vex issue here I look at the contoversial debate between predation and habitat.
I can’t really believe this.
At a recent Wensum Working Group meeting, Rob Dryden from the Environment Agency announced that over four thousand juvenile barbel had been stocked in the River Wensum in the four years leading up to 2012. It appeared that after two years a tiny majority could be followed from their electro-tags but by year three, they’d all completely disappeared.
What is it with professional fishery scientists? Why do they only think of habitat, habitat and more habitat? We know that disappearing fish are not down to floods anymore or two water quality. It’s all about predation and in particular, above all else, the proliferation of cormorants. There is nothing good about these birds on our inland waters. We all know, deep down, that cormorants are to blame for the near extinction of any species of fish up to virtually three pounds in weight.
At every fishery meeting I attend, cormorants are the elephant in the room. The professionals just don’t dare tackle this problem head on but will do anything to change the subject and avoid the inevitable conclusions. Until the Environment Agency, Natural England, DEFRA and all the rest face up to their responsibilities and the fact that cormorant populations have risen seventeen-fold in recent years, we will never have our wild fish populations back again.