Fisheries and angling organisations in the U.K. express grave concern over the results of recent Danish research, which show very high losses of both salmon smolts and eels to cormorants in parts of Denmark. The work carried out by scientists working in the Ringkøbing Fjord area shows that cormorants are eating over half the available salmon smolts, and eels, in the area and suggests that the true level of predation may be as high as 93%.

Given the very depleted state of both salmon and eels stocks in countries around the whole North Atlantic, the research supports the views of many involved in fishery management that cormorants are having a far greater effect on stocks than previously recognised. The demise of the European eel population in particular, now 1% of what it was 20 years ago, correlates with the increase in cormorant numbers.

Terry Mansbridge, Chairman of the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives comments, “These newly published findings strengthen the arguments of anglers and fisheries interests to be able to protect stock from cormorant predation and add weight to Defra’s decision in September of last year to relax the rules governing control of the birds.”

Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) states, “This latest research shows we were right to be concerned about predation on salmon smolts. Now that the new cormorant control procedures are in place the S&TA would encourage all interested parties to make full use of them.”