We anglers are continually moaning about the ever-increasing presence of cormorants – a predatory bird erroneously put on the protected list thanks to a bureaucratic cock-up by the E.U. (as I understand it, they wanted to protect the shag, a less numerous bird much like a cormorant, and evidently the name in Brussels covers both!).
Anyway, for those ‘birdy types’ who think that our protestations are a bit OTT and those who say they only eat a few small fish, please read on!
Recently my best friend Ken and I witnessed three cormorants diving repeatedly in the same area of his lake. After a while, between them, they dragged a very large carp to the surface where they continued, as a team, to bite and rip at it. We watched in horror as the helpless fish tried vainly and unsuccessfully to escape, and despite the fact that we frightened them away (we are not legally allowed to shoot them), we later found it dying in the pool margin. What an horrendous sight! Its lips had been almost torn off and one side of the poor creature was virtually skinned, with deep lacerations all over. It really was a very sad and depressing thing to witness, especially considering that we had seen this fish grow over the years from 2 or 3lbs up to 30lbs 4oz the last time it was caught. Furthermore Ken told me that this was the second large carp in his pool to suffer a similar fate.
Protecting these ghastly killers is like giving a fox the key to the chicken pen and I would really like to know why our lily-livered government procrastinates in returning them to the vermin list, where they rightly belong. If they ever do the problem will be solved within a month!
As far as I am concerned, cormorants should stick to the seaside!