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Fish reefs

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:36 am
by JohnLucas1316
Interesting piece on Countryfile last night from the RSPB reserve at Dungeness in Kent.
They were creating fish refuges (which they were calling 'reefs') in order to ensure a continued supply of fish for over wintering birds to feed on. The over wintering birds were mostly cormorants, but it was not made clear if they were native carbos or invasive sinensis; I suspect the latter.
It would be interesting to know if the RSPB did this because they recognised that the fish stocks were declining under pressure from increased cormorant numbers.
If so, how can the RSPB continue to claim that fish stocks in the UK are hardly affected by cormorant predation?

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:58 am
by JohnLucas1316
I must stop replying to my own posts!
I hope the Angling Trust will make the most of this situation. Anyone can ask the RSPB wildlife team questions online.
The Angling Trust should be asking-
Are the RSPB putting fish 'reefs' in because they finally realise that cormorants DO drastically reduce fish stocks?
Will the RSPB be installing 'reefs' at all of their reserves where cormorants are present?
The RSPB are always calling for more evidence when anglers or river keepers call for larger numbers of fish eating birds to be killed. What evidence led them to install 'reefs' at Dungeness?
Are they using the word 'reef' because it sounds more natural and less controversial than 'refuge'?
The RSPB attitude to inland cormorants has always been that eventually there would be a balance between predator and prey. Does the installation of these 'reefs' mean that they believe that this balance is not attainable without intervention? Or even not attainable at all, with cormorants removing all fish from some waters.

This is a big deal.

We have to take these opportunities to redress the balance and try to educate the non-angling public in any way we can.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:51 pm
by JohnLucas1316
Just a bit of an update for any of you that are interested.
I asked the RSPB wildlife team by email the simple question, " Will the RSPB be installing fish refuges in all of their reserves where cormorants are present?". I asked this ten days ago, and re-sent the question a couple of days later. Each time I received an automated reply to show that the emails had been received. To date I have not received an answer to my question. A few weeks ago I asked the RSPB a question about goosanders and received a reply on the same day. I would like to think that the RSPB wildlife team have been swamped with questions about their fish reefs, but who knows? I expected to get a reply about Dungeness being a special case for some reason, but I have had nothing.

There is no fishing allowed at Dungeness, and as far as I know there is no intensive agriculture nearby and the Countryfile programme did not mention re-stocking of fish because of pollution or anything like that. The programme implied that the fish refuges were being installed simply because of the number of cormorants present.
If there is ever another review similar to the DEFRA review that reported in 2013 about the effects of fish- eating birds in the UK, surely the RSPB can no longer defend inland cormorants.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:57 pm
by john currie
I seem to have similiar problems with my e mails to Rspb.Im trying a carrier pigeon next.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:18 am
by JohnLucas1316
Interesting. I have never had a problem before. A couple of years ago I had a long email conversation with a member of the wildlife team about cormorants that lasted several days.
I suspect we have been black listed John. It could be a good sign. Maybe we have got em on the run! Maybe they are regretting publicising the need for fish reefs.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:29 am
by JohnLucas1316
By the way, if you sent a carrier pigeon to the RSPB I suspect they would just weigh it, measure it, put a permanent ring on its leg and let it go somewhere where a peregrine or sparrowhawk will eat it.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:27 pm
by john currie
I have to say John,I have a bit of a up and down relationship with Rspb.They have invited us onto private waters to fish and in return have asked for sonar readings to help them in locating fish stocks for fish eating birds.I have also encountered the hard core who we will never be able to deal with .They would probably say the same about us..

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:53 am
by JohnLucas1316
I just hope that there is the start of a softening in their attitude to inland cormorants, but I doubt it. I believe that their members want them to have the attitude that no bird can do any wrong, even if many RSPB workers know that this is untrue. I am sure that the RSPB know that reduced fish stocks due to inland cormorant predation is having an effect on native wildlife.
I am sure that if there was another review into fish-eating birds such as the one that reported in 2013, the RSPB would be defending sinensis cormorants completely- because that is what their subscription- paying members want.
When cormorants first appeared inland in the UK in the 1980s, the RSPB claimed that they did not know which cormorant it was; native carbo coastal cormorants, or sinensis cormorants- even though a lot of them had rings on their legs to show that they were Dutch!!!
I am sure that the RSPB (and the Wildlife Trust) would like to see an end to all angling in the UK.

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:17 am
by JohnLucas1316
Just another update.
Another of my family members asked the RSPB about the fish refuges, obviously using a different name and email address than mine. They got the automated reply, but no answer. It seems that the RSPB do not want to answer any questions relating to cormorants any more.
Call me 'old mister paranoid', but I would not be surprised to find out that the RSPB monitor this forum......

Re: Fish reefs

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:14 am
by Jason Skilton
JohnLucas1316 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:17 am
Just another update.
Another of my family members asked the RSPB about the fish refuges, obviously using a different name and email address than mine. They got the automated reply, but no answer. It seems that the RSPB do not want to answer any questions relating to cormorants any more.
Call me 'old mister paranoid', but I would not be surprised to find out that the RSPB monitor this forum......
There is nothing to stop a person whom is a RSPB member joining the PAC :D