Concerns are mounting over the damage done to River Severn fish stocks during the big freeze. Large numbers of the fish-eating predatory birds descended on the middle river when all the stillwaters were frozen, and sport was badly affected.

The birds have now returned to their normal haunts, but the silver fish sport has been dire in many places, as illustrated during the weekend’s Shrewsbury River Classic, which saw only 12 fish caught by the 33 competitors. Shrewsbury is a traditional winter hotspot for roach and dace fishing, but not a single dace was caught. A single bird can eat a pound of fish a day and a flock can quickly decimate a shoal. The Environment Agency is working on a report into fish stocks.

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