Throughout January, social media was rife with a spate of otter attacks.
This outbreak caused the Barbel Society to start a petition on the government’s website for the non-lethal control of the otter in Britain.
After much persuasion, 11,000 signatures were gained on the petition, and so it was discussed by the government and a response given. Unfortunately for the Barbel Society, and as many suspected, the petition was dismissed by the government. The response was as follows: “While the Government understand concerns raised about the impact otters may have on fish populations, they are a protected species and there are no plans to introduce methods to control their numbers. The Government understands that there are concerns that otters may have adverse impacts on fish populations and wildlife more generally but we do not accept that the otter ‘has become a detriment to the river environment’.”
Anglers were also reminded that due to the legal protection of otters, anyone who injures, kills, disturbs or alters their living quarters is subject to prosecution. The Angling Trust did not condone the petition and felt it was poorly worded, and so they never backed the movement. They did, however, say they will continue to fight for anglers in relation to the threat of our rivers and stillwaters from the increase in otter numbers.