‘Save us from otter ruin’ – plea from fishery owners

DISGRUNTLED coarse fishery owners fed up with otters are banding together to complain about the lack of service that they receive from the Government.

This otter was filmed feasting on a fish at Nine Oaks Angling Centre.

Fisheries in Ceredegion, West Wales, led by Nine Oaks, are furious that Natural Resources Wales is ignoring them. They’ve even been refused an application to join the Local Fishery Group.

Leading spokesman Bill Baker, of Nine Oaks Angling Centre, Llanarth, has caught otters on night motion sensor cameras.

Bill explained: “Last year I had a female otter here with her cubs, and they dug under the fencing surrounding one of my lakes and destroyed it.

“NRW claimed that I must have a water problem, but tests showed it to be okay, so I spent hundreds of pounds on night cameras, to prove when and where the otters were coming from.

“They appear at night, and currently it looks to be a big male otter.

“I never find fish remains, but one picture showed a whole fish being carried off to a local stream, which is where they are coming in from.”

‘Authority only cares about game fishing’

“NRW only seem interested in game fishing in Wales,” blasted Bill.

“Because of the problems here, I applied to attend the LFG group meeting, but was refused attendance, as they only wanted to talk about trout and salmon river issues.

“There isn’t a single representative of coarse fishing on the local group.

Years ago I was one, as I run a mixed fishery, but resigned when NRW wanted to charge £250 for bringing equipment down to help kids in taster sessions, which the EA used to do for free.”

Nine Oaks Angling Centre boss Bill Baker is leading calls for support.

Nine Oaks boss Bill Baker is leading calls for support.

Otter nightmare not just at Nine Oaks

Bill continued: “My neighbour, Nigel Pheysey, of Llanarth Coarse Fishery, has called the NRW for help, as he was being heavily attacked by otters, too.

“He told me that the NRW told him that there was not an otter issue in Ceredigion, but to call me at Nine Oaks, as I have experience of the issue. Frankly, his fishery is being destroyed by the pests.

“By turning a blind eye to the predation problem, they are shooting themselves in the foot, as otters are also contributing to the decline of game fish stocks.

“The authorities are adding to the problem. When they do work on rivers, they use tax revenues to build otter holts, helping them to breed.

“With low stocks in salmon rivers, angling tourism is in decline, and this impacts on the local economy.

“I would ask all Welsh fisheries experiencing predator problems to call me at Nine Oaks, as we are trying to get some weight of opinion behind us to approach the NRW,” Bill concluded.

Angler’s Mail asked Natural Resources Wales to comment on the refusal to let Bill join the LFG, but it didn’t get back to us in time for this report.

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