Angling Trust ‘disappointed’ over Barbel Society’s otter petition to Government

Top rod Darren Starkey with a 3-02 perch from the bungalows section on the River Ouse. PIC: Steve Fearnley

A bitter war of words broke out last week, with the Angling Trust showing its disappointment at the Barbel Society’s decision to go it alone in producing a petition to Government after previously agreeing to work together on the subject of otter predation.

The petition, written by Lawrence Breakspear, reads: “For the introduction of non-lethal means of control of the Otter (Lutra-lutra). Since its assisted re-introduction to the freshwater waterways of the UK, the otter has reached levels of increased population on lakes, canals and rivers where its presence has become a detriment to the riverine environment affecting most fish species and birds and mammals.

“Evidence shows with some certain fish species, their populations have been reduced dramatically to the point of collapse. The rivers Kennet, Great Ouse, Teme, Bristol Avon, Cherwell, Dorset Stour and Thames are good examples of the otters’ effect on the local environment of these rivers.

“Many commercial fisheries and fish farms are regularly invaded by the otter with the negative effect of costly, indiscriminate fish kills. Many fisheries are now ring fenced to keep this predator at bay.”

The petition has divided many of the country’s top names, with England carp-team manager, Rob Hughes, explaining that it was asking for something that we already have under existing laws, and branding it a “total waste of time”.

In the other corner, and never one to mince his words, angler, author and presenter Des Taylor said, live on air, that the Angling Trust and Environment Agency were in bed together in not recognising the true predatory problem, and they did not represent the majority of anglers. He made a plea that anyone who really cares about the sport and environment should sign the petition immediately.

Petitions require 10,000 signatures to force a response from Government; this has already reached that figure. 100,000 are needed to get it into parliament.

I find the wording vague with no solution, and it seems to show a north-south divide in the rivers mentioned.

I know otters don’t stop at Watford Gap.

In over 40 years fishing the Yorkshire match circuit I never once saw an otter. I now concentrate my efforts on barbel fishing the Ouse, Ure and Swale, and last summer witnessed at least eight, all in daylight hours and none seemed concerned that I was there.

These large numbers, and uncharacteristic behaviour, are not natural as the otter conservation groups want us to believe. And percentage statistics that fish are only part of the animal’s diet are laughable.

I’m certain the eight I watched last summer weren’t eating sprouts.

Meanwhile, records again tumbled last week as famous bungalows peg 219 provided the winner for the 11th consecutive match.

Harrogate’s Ian Bowman took his second winter-league victory from the prolific Ouse stand with over 37lb of predominantly pole-caught large perch.

Pleasure anglers are also enjoying the same bumper sport, with drop shot and jigging tactics with lures taking fish to over 3lb.


Mark Turner Open, Kippax Park, Lapwing: 1, Bill Brown 85-10; 2, Andy Barker 62-14; 3, Adrian Broomhead 43-13.

Mark Turner Open, Kippax Park, Lapwing: 1, Bill Brown 57-02; 2, Neil Rymer 36-12; 3, Tony Lawson 33-15.

Saturday Winter League, Kippax Park, Lapwing: 1, Tony Evans 51-12; 2, Steve Raper 41-06; 3, Luca Willshaw 36-02; 4, Bob Rymer 33-10.

Anglers World Holidays, Round 4, Ouse/Widdington: 1, I Bowman 6-10; 2, D Grace 5-12; 3, S Haigh 5-09; 4, P Austin 4-15; 5, A Benstead 4-07; 6, D White 3-09.

Anglers World Holidays, Round 5, Linton/Ouse: 1, S Heaton, Notts 11-04; 2, S Lister, Middlesbrough 7-07; 3, D Armitage, Cleckheaton 6-08; 4, A Benstead Pontefract 6-00; 5, S Newns, Keighley 5-09; 6, A Hampson, Leeds 4-10.

Bradford No 1, Raskelf Lake, Winter Series: 1, H Foster 14-08; 2, M Foster 10-12; 3, R Malone 10-10; 4 S Tate 10-06.

Leeds Winter League, Hunters/Linton: 1, Ian Bowman 37-12; 2, Pete Barron 8-06; 3, Craig Turbitt 6-04; 4, Ian Bates 5-02; 5, Norman Thewliss 4-12.

Viking Saturday Open (Deer): 1, S Armitage 60-02, 2, R Green 54-00, 3, C Watson 25-05.

Fryston Winter League (Viking Hawk): 1, S Varley 29-01, 2, G Gill 25-06, 3 J Warren 11-10.

Match Diary


Kippax Park: Saturday open, Lapwing or Osprey, contact 07967000746.

Poppleton: Saturday ppen, pools £15, draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Moorfields Farm: 54 pegs, tickets £16, contact 07710817150.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Birkwood Farm: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01132 80609.

Viking: Saturday open, Hawk Pond, 30 pegs, £16, contact 01405 785206.

Tollerton Ponds: Open match all ages, (Kingfisher 20 pegs, Coot 18 pegs, Heron 32 pegs), contact 01347 838115.

Anglers World Winter Series: River Ouse/Ure, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743 or Dave Miles 07867680479.


Leeds & Liverpool: Kirkstall, contact Roger Movley 01132 772215.

Listerhills: Leeds & Liverpool Canal, contact Eddie Harrison 07518721051.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Oak Tree Leisure: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01347 810686.

Poppleton: Sunday open, 50 pegs, draw 11am Cafe, contact 07425 146677.


Woodlands: over-50s, 30 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes: over-60s, 30 pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds: over-50s, tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.


Kippax Park: over-50s, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.


Leeds & District: Moor Monkton Pools, draw 10am, contact 07967000746.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Tollerton Ponds: open match, all ages, contact 01347 838115.


Poppleton Lakes: Thursday evening, draw car park 5pm, pools £11, contact Roger 01904 737279.

Please email match results and fixtures to before Monday for inclusion in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

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