BOFFINS are calling for an illegal cull on cormorants to save one of the UK’s rarest fish.
The Cumbrian-based Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) says the marauding black birds are putting Hawswater’s rare schelly under serious threat of extinction, and say shooting them is the only option.
Ian Winfield from the CEH at Merlewood said: “We have tried scaring the birds and that can stop them nesting and so stop them producing.
“But that does not stop the adult birds hanging around. We either we live with the cormorants and let them feed on the schelly, hoping that doesn’t send them into extinction, or we shoot birds locally on the site.
“Any other kind of activity, such as building refuges for the fish or re-stocking, is not appropriate to a lake like Hawswater.”
Despite the fact the cormorants are still protected, sharpshooters are to be brought in to save the small white fish, which is only found in four Cumbrian lakes.