We have all seen cormorant and goosander on our waters and thought ‘what can I do? ‘ These birds have devastated what was left of fish stocks on our section of the Monnow and, diring the winter 2017-8, on the Large Lake at Treowen. Thankfully things have not been so bad at Treown last winter and rudd stocks are recovering well already but the larger perch are seldom caught nowadays. There are plenty of small perch so they night recover soo. Without the numbers of larger perch, rudd will grow on in ever increasing numbers but will perhaps not get much over the half pound mark again.
Populations of small silver fish in our water on the Wye have diminished over recent years. Once you would catch dozens small chub before you caught a decent one. Now, in my experience, the average chub caught is probably two or three pounds. The reason is obvious. In Ross and Hereford town waters where there are plenty of people around, the predatory birds keep away and match catches are still good.
On our two sections of the river Wye and Monnow with public access nearby, I don’t see that shooting these birds is a viable option. Any form of bird scarer would soon be vandalised. That leaves repeated disturbance of roosting and feeding birds, but they have already become quite fearless of people outside a certain distance. So what is the answer?