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" they are sitting on eggs generally now and often move to the quieter dykes and margins"
I agree with both MM and Steve51 on that. I do not know how many Mink there are or where they are. I absolutely agree that every effort should be continued to eradicate them. So the more effort on that front the better. As for Otters...of course they take a few birds and a goodly number of fish. But that is nature and all part of the real environment. They are after all an indigenous species so unlike the mink belong here. They are also territorial so at no place will they be "getting out of control" as JBensley stated. An otter has a particular sizeable area and defends it from other otters. Some anglers do not like the fact that otters "compete" for the fish in the rivers as any lower number reduce their chance of a catch. However those anglers that like to be at one with nature and wish to test their skill against the real environment are happy with otters. If it is numbers and size of fish an angler craves they are surely best to fish in an overstocked lake fishery that contain numerous large fish.
And of course as far as the otters are concerned, it is usually fishermen and associates who complain about them!!! Whilst it is quite difficult to know numbers exactly, it is generally accepted by those involved that the Broads have been "full" of otters for a number of years - otters are extremely territorial and do not tolerate others in their neighbourhood and the young rather than just adding to the population in any area, are sent packing with a flea in their ear!! For what its worth the most recent fish estimates from EA surveys suggest they have little or no impact on fishing by us humans as numbers of fish remain healthy and indeed perhaps growing.
Young otters are known to travel miles to new and other less otter populated areas to establish their territories.
Yes lots of Marsh Harriers... maybe they should be shot!!! As far as I can see the wildlife on the Broads is as rich and diverse as at any point in my lifetime (I was born here). A natural balance seems to have been largely restored by allowing some predators back and sorting some issues like habitat and pollution. That has been helped by some legislation and is also a feather in the cap of the BA. In my opinion the conservation bodies have a mixed record. Some have been excellent both at their aims whilst facilitating other people and activities. Others have been exclusive, self centred and myopic.
This message was edited by Harlequin on Apr-27-17 @ 1:05 PM
The effects that otters have on the fish population was clearly demonstrated about 3 years ago when there was an explosion of prymnesium between West Somerton and Potter Heigham. There were massive numbers of dead fish lining both banks. The fish varied in size from small fry to large bream and pike. It's not that the otters were eating all the fish, its' that the fishermen are incapable of catching them.