So as were not allowed to shoot them, or trap them, the only thing we can do is create fish refuges - to enable our fish stocks to hide from the black death.
(if your not a fisherman - please don't think us anglers don't like water birds - WE DO ! we love to see the herons, grebes, kingfishers etc which are natural predators on our waterways - we are just the first people who suffer from the new version of the black death - the invasion of sea birds which can eat up to 3lbs of fish per day- and wipe out whole fish populations - which in turn sustain the kingfishers, herons grebes etc. Once the fish have been wiped out from a lake, a lot of water birds also move on).
So - if we allow cormorants free reign on our lakes and rivers - we might as well pack it all in and take up knitting.
The only solution open to us it to construct fish protection refuges - in which our fish stocks can swim into in order to escape the unwelcome attentions of this alien predator.
16 people attended our work party today, and in 2 hours we constructed 5 fish refuges which we hope will help to effectively shelter our silver fish populations from cormorant predation.
With alot of help from our local environment agency officers - and using sheep/stock fencing and silage netting - we created our refuges and placed them at the Boathouse pub end of the Old River in mid channel between pegs.
In the near future (9th April) we are going to hold another work party where we will cover these fish refuges with floating islands - to act as further habitat improvement for our fish stocks and also to act as markers where the cormorant cages are located.
At present, the location of the fish refuges is given away by small red and white marker floats.
The 5 refuges we created this morning - are only the start of the project.
We anticipate creating up to 25 refuges and floating islands along the entire length of the Old River.
Which will be a massive habitat improvement - resulting in better fishing over the coming years.
If you can lend a hand - your more than welcome to join us on the 9th April.