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Otter friend or foe


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#31 Vagabond

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 03:18 PM

Hunting otter with hounds has been practised in the UK for hundreds of years (an otter hunt is described by Izaak Walton in the Compleate Angler)

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To say that the otter hunts "wiped them out" is just ill informed nonsense.

The decline in numbers was first reported by the hunts and they stopped hunting voluntarily long before any ban came into force.



...and the anti-hunting brigade never even noticed <_<


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#32 chesters1

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 03:19 PM

if otters decimated fish stocks they would have died out millions of years before man appeared ,its very handy to blame things when the real reason is man himself ,perhaps not directly killing fish but pumping sewage into rivers and interfering with nature in many other ways.
its not that otters were supposed to kill fish but that otters killed fish the land owners fished for generally game fish ,when fish eat fish its fine but when fish eat my fish its a different story.

rivers still generally belong to land owners ,once owners of thousands of acres with keepers but now many estates have been split up so the notion of my fish is less so otters not so much of a problem ,owners of lakes can easily take measures that will exclude otters rivers are not so easy

Edited by chesters1, 28 October 2011 - 03:22 PM.

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#33 Steve Walker

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 03:30 PM

its not that otters were supposed to kill fish but that otters killed fish the land owners fished for generally game fish ,when fish eat fish its fine but when fish eat my fish its a different story.


I once read an old riverkeeper's manual from the 19th century - it was basically a list of common riverside wildlife, and how best to kill it! If it wasn't silver or spotty, it was for the chop.

#34 The Flying Tench

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 09:47 PM

Also, could you direct me to some "studies" other than opinion - say like the scat surveys I posted - that indicate otter are predators of fish over 3 lbs (or fish at all)? The EA has run extensive studies but you don't seem to have an inclination for science.

Phone


Does anyone have a link to these studies by the EA that otters don't usually kill fish over 3lb? I'm certainly surprised. Someone I know with a small private stretch of River Kennet told me nearly all the chub and pike in his stretch had been killed by otters; I suppose most of the chub would have been under 3lb, but he'd found two 15lb pike left on the bank, stomachs bitten open, but not much of the fish eaten. We've all heard stories of expensive big carp being killed by them. I accept that the carp pools are artificial, but it doesn't seem to fit with otters not eating big fish.
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#35 Tigger

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 11:38 PM

Does anyone have a link to these studies by the EA that otters don't usually kill fish over 3lb? I'm certainly surprised. Someone I know with a small private stretch of River Kennet told me nearly all the chub and pike in his stretch had been killed by otters; I suppose most of the chub would have been under 3lb, but he'd found two 15lb pike left on the bank, stomachs bitten open, but not much of the fish eaten. We've all heard stories of expensive big carp being killed by them. I accept that the carp pools are artificial, but it doesn't seem to fit with otters not eating big fish.



Sounds like someone is exagerrating to me :rolleyes: . Otters don't concentrate on one spot on the river, they move up and down and mainly eat eels, crayfish and then I think trout are their favourite fish. They don't like pike because of the bones you know :D .

There's otters, mink, cormorants, kingfishers, goosander, herons and Polish on my local rivers and i've never come across these type of incidents...15lb pike lying all over with their guts pulled out, sounds like a prank to me !

Maybe his stretch of the river doesn't suit the fish at this time of year.

Edited by Tigger, 28 October 2011 - 11:45 PM.


#36 corydoras

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 11:59 PM

I must admit I have problems trying to imagine an otter pulling out a pike that weighs as much as the otter does.

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#37 Phone

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 04:24 AM

Tench,

As stated in my post my source was the Missouri Department of Conservation. However, I notice in their referrences the following two from England sponsored by the EA. You might check them out.

Chanin P (2003) Ecology of the European Otter - and - Crawford A (2003) Fourth Otter Survey of England 2000-2002.

What was actually said was 1.5kg (I called that 3lbs as a "neighborhood" reference).

It only makes sense they would take the easiest fish first. (In MO it's not even fish otters are after). But when the pick'uns get slim I bet things could get exciting.

Phone

#38 Rusty

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 04:26 AM

Sounds like someone is exagerrating to me :rolleyes: . Otters don't concentrate on one spot on the river, they move up and down and mainly eat eels, crayfish and then I think trout are their favourite fish. They don't like pike because of the bones you know :D .

There's otters, mink, cormorants, kingfishers, goosander, herons and Polish on my local rivers and i've never come across these type of incidents...15lb pike lying all over with their guts pulled out, sounds like a prank to me !

Maybe his stretch of the river doesn't suit the fish at this time of year.


Maybe room for some exageration as regards weights Ian but I know the stretch FT is talking about. There's very little chance of anyone getting into the premises and I'm pretty sure the owner's account is accurate. 100 yards downstream I can fish on a club ticket, it's been a banker chub swim for another AN contributor for 20 years. Last year there were a couple of otter sightings and this year the chub have gone.

Not conclusive I'll admit, if I was a chub I'd simply bugger off to another part of the river and I haven't found any carcasses on the bank but it does make you wonder.
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#39 Tigger

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 09:33 AM

Maybe room for some exageration as regards weights Ian but I know the stretch FT is talking about. There's very little chance of anyone getting into the premises and I'm pretty sure the owner's account is accurate. 100 yards downstream I can fish on a club ticket, it's been a banker chub swim for another AN contributor for 20 years. Last year there were a couple of otter sightings and this year the chub have gone.

Not conclusive I'll admit, if I was a chub I'd simply bugger off to another part of the river and I haven't found any carcasses on the bank but it does make you wonder.



The thing is Chris, the first thing people point their fingers at when there's a shortage of fish is the otter, cormorant or similar. As I said otters don't just hammer one area. Also fish move up and down rivers, they don't all just hang fire in the same places all their lives so there would be other fish moving into the areas of low fish density. On my small local river there have been otters for years and I myself have found their footprints but have never seen one until recently. I walked down to where it had just been and on my first trott caught a fish proving that all the fish don't swim to the far ends of the earth because of the presence of an otter as people claim.

#40 Vagabond

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:27 AM

Here is one of the references Phone mentions.

Needs careful reading by would-be otter cullers.

http://ec.europa.eu/...SMURF_otter.pdf

and I can't find the "fourth survey" Phone mentions, but here is the latest (the fifth)

http://www.environme...l_report(1).pdf

Of course a survey is only as good as the knowledge and effort put into it, but it is still a better starting point than the allegations of unsuccessful and disgruntled anglers.

Just had a read through the references.

I was pleased to see the presence of otters in the High Weald is noted from distribution maps drawn in 1991 and subsequently - in the thirty years before that, I suggest the "absence" is due to the absence of visits by researchers rather than the absence of otters. (they say themselves that the more recent surveys have been more comprehensive)

It bears out what I said in an earlier post - that otters in the High Weald never really went away.

...and the otter's "preferred foods" (when available), seem to be eels, frogs, crayfish, salmonids, percids and lastly cyprinids - in that order - much the same as humans really :lol: (and yes, I've eaten frogs' legs - they are delicious)

Edited by Vagabond, 29 October 2011 - 11:12 AM.



RNLI Governor

World species 471 : UK species 105 : English species 95 .
Certhia's world species - 215
Eclectic "husband and wife combined" world species 501

 

"Nothing matters very much, few things matter at all" - Plato
...only things like fresh bait and cold beer...