ANGLERS and their representatives are questioning what is happening at the RSPB following a second  press release from them containing further inaccurate statements regarding cormorant control, their numbers, and the numbers of birds being killed under licence. Regrettably following the release on 21st January the BBC’s Today programme saw fit to give them prime air time on their broadcast that morning and the opportunity to further their flawed arguments.

Terry Mansbridge, Chairman of the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives and the Moran Committee’s Joint Bird Group, and who was gave pre-recorded comments to the Today programme, was furious at these latest developments, commenting. “ Once again the RSPB have deliberately misconstrued the truth because Defra have not changed their policy. Neither can I understand why the RSPB play games with the numbers of breeding birds in either England or the UK. Julian Hughes quoted different numbers in both the press release and the radio interview, knowing full well that the figures given bear no resemblance to either the figures for the UK, or what is most important that the number of wintering birds is in excess of 23,000.

I’m also unhappy that Tom Weilden, the BBC’s interviewer, incorrectly referred to anglers naming the birds as the ‘Black Luftwaffe’ even after I told him that I thought it was offensive.”

Mike Heylin, Secretary of the Specimen Anglers Alliance, also heard the programme, stating. “ I thought that it was most inappropriate that the BBC give the RSPB a platform for their lies and spin, and have complained to the producers about it”

Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association said, “ I think the RSPB are losing all credibility over this and they need to recognise that cormorants and fish are part of the same complex and dynamic ecosystem. Management of this needs to take into account the needs of more than a single species of bird.”