Numbers just released by Defra show that the number of licences granted to shoot cormorants, and the number of cormorants shot, more than doubled in the year following the changes made to licensing procedures.
In the year before the changes were made just 146 licences were granted for 828 birds, of which 499 were shot. Following the changes announced by Ben Bradshaw in September 2004 a total of 330 licences were granted for 1996 birds of which 1298 were shot.
NAFAC’s Executive Chairman, Terry Mansbridge commented ‘I am pleased that Defra listened to angler’s pleas for help with cormorant problems. This increase in licence numbers demonstrates not only that there was a need for an improved system but that the new system is being used by fishery owners and clubs alike’
NAFAC National Council member and long time campaigner for a better deal for anglers regarding cormorant predation, Martin Read, was delighted with the figures adding, ‘These figures clearly demonstrate the need to control cormorants at fisheries. However more importantly, the difference between those licensed to be shot, and those actually shot, confirms what we have said all along, that anglers are not trying to cull cormorants, but shoot them only as a last resort in order to protect their fisheries and in some cases livelihoods’