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Otter friend or foe

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*Attempt at a sensible post alert*


I think it’s too early to say whether otters are friend or foe. They’re an indigineous species so it’s difficult to argue that the success of their re-introduction is a bad thing particularly if it’s an indication of the state of our rivers. But times and our environment have changed since otters last thrived, angling practices and expectations have changed too so it might be that although the otter is just doing what it normally does there’s less ‘space’ for us to co-exist and so we’re less tolerant.


When did the otter decline start, 60 years ago? At that time would a half eaten barbel on the bank have been as significant as it is now? I doubt many commercial carp fisheries were around then so that particular buffet table didn’t exist, there wasn't a problem.


We need to wait and see if things balance out (if there's an imbalance now), they may not in our lifetime.

Edited by Rusty

It's never a 'six', let's put it back

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Otters naturally belong here. Any sort of fishing which relies upon the absence of otters does not naturally belong here. It's a pretty poor angler who is only interested in fake fishing.


There will be no cull of otters. If it comes down to angling or otters, it is angling which will go. Calling for a cull is the most stupid bit of public relations imaginable, it achieves nothing and makes us look terrible.



Very well put Steve.



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Zander, Tench, Bream, Chub, Barbel, Roach, Rudd, Grayling, Brown Trout, Salmon Parr, Minnow, Pike, Eel, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Ghost Carp, Koi Carp, Crucian Carp, F1 Carp, Blue Orfe, Ide, Goldfish, Brown Goldfish, Comet Goldfish, Golden Tench, Golden Rudd, Perch, Gudgeon, Ruff, Bleak, Dace, Sergeant Major, French Grunt, Yellow Tail Snapper, Tom Tate Grunt, Clown Wrasse, Slippery Dick Wrasse, Doctor Fish, Graysby, Dusky Squirrel Fish, Longspine Squirrel Fish, Stripped Croaker, Leather Jack, Emerald Parrot Fish, Red Tail Parrot Fish, White Grunt, Bone Fish
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Zander, Pike, Perch, Eel, Tench, Bream, Roach, Rudd, Mirror Carp, Common Carp, Crucian Carp, Siamese Carp, Asian Redtail Catfish, Sawai Catfish, Rohu, Amazon Redtail Catfish, Pacu, Long Tom, Moon Wrasse, Sergeant Major, Green Damsel, Tomtate Grunt, Sea Chub, Yellowtail Surgeon, Black Damsel, Blue Dot Grouper, Checkered Sea Perch, Java Rabbitfish, One Spot Snapper, Snubnose Rudderfish
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Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Bonito, Black Fin Tuna, Long Tom, Sergeant Major, Red Snapper, Black Damsel, Queen Trigga Fish, Red Grouper, Redhind Grouper, Rainbow Wrasse, Grey Trigger Fish, Ehrenbergs Snapper, Malabar Grouper, Lunar Fusiler, Two Tone Wrasse, Starry Dragonet, Convict Surgeonfish, Moonbeam Dwarf Angelfish,Bridled Monocle Bream, Redlined Triggerfish, Cero Mackeral, Rainbow Runner
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Arapaima, Alligator Gar, Mekong Catfish, Spotted Sorubim Catfish, Pacu, Siamese Carp, Barracuda, Black Fin Tuna, Queen Trigger Fish, Red Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Honeycomb Grouper, Red Grouper, Schoolmaster, Cubera Snapper, Black Grouper, Albacore, Ballyhoo, Coney, Yellowfin Goatfish, Lattice Spinecheek

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When did the otter decline start, 60 years ago?


ie, from 1950. I was a trout-fishing teenager then. My trout streams held plenty of trout, and more to the point, plenty of eels which is the otter's preferred food. The apex predator as far as the trout were concerned was me! The apex predator from the otter's point of view was the local otter hunt.


Much of the "decline" was due to habitat loss. Degradation of our rivers, due to urbanisation and intensive farming..


As far as the Ashdown Forest and rest of the High Weald were concerned, we were above that (altitude-wise rather than morally :) ) so there was no habitat loss, and the trout, the eels and the otter have never really gone away.


..and as I said earlier, I have fished (and caught fish) in many westward flowing rivers for seatrout and salmon - all have a healthy population of otters.


It is interesting that Worms has no trouble in catching fish from the Teme, yet "all other stretches have been ravaged by otters - with half-eaten barbel corpses strewn for all to see".


Of course, Worms might be an "otter whisperer" and trained otters to leave his stretches alone. :)


Nobody yet has dared suggest angling ability might be a factor. <_<<_<



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...

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I've lost count of the number of times I hear the Oxfordshire rivers have been 'decimated' by otters. I can only assume that either those people have never fished them, or they're just not very good ;)

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music

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Love it when people say 'decimated'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_(Roman_army)


The Otter does seem to be a good vent for those who haven't caught... However i wouldn't dare to question anyones Angling skill or lack of...

I mean, I wander up and down the banks 'crashing through undergrowth' and 'noisily thrashing gaudy lures through other peoples swims' and I STILL manage to catch. Despite my lack of finesse...


Born lucky I reckon ;):rolleyes:



This Years' Targets:- As many species by lure as possible. Preferably via Kayak. 15lb+ Pike on Lure...

Species Caught 2012- Pike, Perch.

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My Website and Blog Fishing Blog, Fishkeeping Information and BF3 Guide.

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Much of the "decline" was due to habitat loss. Degradation of our rivers, due to urbanisation and intensive farming..



Strange Dave, your one of a few people I know of except for myself and people who hunt that has actually tried to point that out. Most people who simply don't like hunting blame it on the hunting brigade and their hounds. Truth be known, as you say, pollution, urbanisation etc was by far the biggest killer of otters.

Hunting otters with dogs was probably at the bottom of the list when it came to the downfall of the otter and would most likely never have made any impression on their numbers.

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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)

The decline of the otter from the 1950s to the 70s was caused by the factors mentioned but principally by the use of organochlorine pesticides such as Dieldrin. This builds up through the food chain and affects the apex predators, ie otters and birds of prey

After it's use was discontinued in the 70s the birds of prey recovered quite quickly but the otter didn't so some limited restocking took place, mostly in East Anglia and Yorkshire. There has been no restocking since 1999.


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.

Let's agree to respect each others views, no matter how wrong yours may be.



Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity





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I'd like to say that it surprises me that people don't know what caused the decline in otters, or why their population is now naturally recovering. But it doesn't surprise me at all.


"By the 1970s, otters were restricted mainly to Scotland, especially the islands and the north-west coast, western Wales, parts of East Anglia and the West Country (though they remained common and widespread also in Ireland). This decline was caused by organo-chlorine pesticides. Since these were withdrawn from use, otters have been spreading back into many areas, especially in northern and western England."




That's interesting, isn't it;


"though they remained common and widespread also in Ireland"


That Ireland, well known for its rubbish fishing back when there were few otters in England...

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Yes, commercials(?), are you being derogatory of those fine establishments merit or reputation? In fact, I probably dropped a couple thousand of those "toruist" dollars, once at Redmier even though it was fished by invite. I rather like the "pay puddles". As a critic, when was the last time you fished one? You have a pretty long list of "critical issues" don't you. Are we doing anything right in the angling community that you can think of right off hand?


I've been reading. Your position, while loud and disconnected, is not well supported in England. It appears as though you are just an agitator and heckler of "an already done deal" widely accepted in the sporting community.




As for the otter - I'd like to change the subject. I have a lot of empthay for The Greater Mouse-Eared Bat. Any chance it is on the mend on England? Without it, since the 1990's, I've noticed you have a lot more bugs.



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I'd like to change the subject The Greater Mouse-Eared Bat. Any chance it is on the mend on England?


Not to my knowlege, but for several years we used to spend a fortnight every year in an old converted church in Scotland, We booked it for the adjacent salmon fishing which came with the letting. In the old belfry was a colony of Long-eared Bats Plecotus auritis which we enjoyed watching at dusk.


As far as I know they did not prey upon the salmon :lol:



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...

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