Cormorant cull set to spark more controversy

WAVENEY VALLEY: Applications for permission to cull the annual cormorant invasion are on the line again.

Fenn Wright Land and Estate Agent have applied for control at three Earsham sites where the biggest roost of 140 birds – dropping to around 80 in icy weather – takes place at the main gravel pit

These birds also rout the adjacent river Waveney, which is the bottom of Outney Common where once roach thrived, when a freeze occurs, and is also the case from upstream of Earsham, through Flixton and on to Homersfield. In these areas club trial fishing and matches – this year evenings, and last year days – produced less than one pound winning weights, with half the field of approaching 20 blanking. Environment Agency electro fishing surveys yielded just a couple of adult roach.

The surprising news is that in the past Defra, fully aware of these figures, produced and documented by a team of club and working monitors, permitted the shooting of just two. This increased to six for the winter through to April. Ellingham Hall were even less lucky, experiencing a total refusal, which is understood to be the case at Fritton Lake too where there are now regular breeding pairs all year round. This year it is feared with over 200 cormorants already sighted the impact will be even worse.

One of two legally obtained corpses when cut open revealed 31 fish from 2' to 6' and the other 18 fish to 8', indicating an annual consumption of alarming proportions. It gives little hope to clubs stocking their waters and even less for those involved with fish and fishing for their business.

Many anglers think angling entrepreneurs need to team together to make a united and dedicated approach to protect their own commercial interests through their MPs, for if it was any other type of business a prosecution could be justified for Restraint of Trade.

• The river took on a nice tinge of colour in the early tidals which carried through most of the way to Beccles and increased roach catches.

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Once a bit of bait started going in around the town at Beccles some pretty hefty bream showed too.

Peter Moore from Yarmouth landed a catch of 150lb from Church Score on the feeder – his best fish weighed 7lb and the smallest 5lb. A hundred yards or so upstream in Puddingmoor Park (free fishing again) Dawdy Price found his 37 bream, all around 2lb, on the feeder from mid-stream. Consistent form is still rolling in from the commercials, with a substantial number of bream becoming present in a lot of them.

Broome Pits lakes B and C may win in the numbers game, but the smallest Pit by the main car park threw up several specimens approaching the 10lb mark this week.