Raiding otters are giving pond owners something to carp about

They recommended that local pond owners cover their pond with chicken wire or erect a wire fence.

“We realize this is not a police matter, but the fish are worth a lot of money,” it said in a statement.

But local resident David Watts said his fishing pond was attacked by otters despite protection.

“They emptied my big pond with nets two years ago,” he said. “All local carp.”

Ponds are “an easy win” for otters

Action for the River Kennet’s Anna Forbes said otters are always a problem for fish owners who live near healthy rivers.

“Even if there are many fish in the river, they will choose the ponds because it is an easy gain for a hunter. It’s basically a big fish bowl,” she said. “Of course they don’t know it’s someone’s garden. So it’s one of those things that’s going to happen. They are ferocious creatures looking for a light meal.”

“The choice is either not keeping fish and having a wild pond or being otter proof.”

She added, “We should consider ourselves very lucky because at one point there weren’t many otters around.”

Resettlement “without consultation”

Fishing groups say the presence of otters is a positive sign of a healthy ecosystem, but have raised concerns about the speed and prevalence of their reintroduction.

“The legal resettlement was done without much consultation,” said Jamie Coo, CEO of the Angling Trust.

“In the past, otters have eaten eels and small fish and returned to an ecosystem that had changed significantly. We have larger and older fish that have basically never known an otter in their ecosystem.

“Especially smaller rivers, lakes, still waters and ponds were really badly affected in certain areas. People’s livelihoods have been damaged.”

Richard Curtis, the CEO of the Warminster and District Angling Club, argued that fishing communities were artificially supporting otter populations.

“Without the fishing clubs replenishing the fish, there would be a lot of dead otters, a lot of starving otters. And it costs the fisheries a lot,” he said.

Recently, researchers have warned that otter numbers have been declining, possibly linked to increased river pollution.

Numbers are down 20 percentage points since 2010, according to a survey of more than 1,000 sites as part of the first Welsh national census of animals in more than a decade. Raiding otters are giving pond owners something to carp about

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