A number of clubs, individuals, and riparian owners who have licences to shoot cormorants are putting future licences at risk. The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives, who fought long and hard to get the rules relating to the control of cormorants at fisheries relaxed, are reminding everyone of the need to complete their licence return form and send it to Defra as soon as possible.
A condition of the licences, which are issued by Defra to prevent serious damage to fisheries by cormorants, is that those holding the licence should complete and return a WCA 80 form giving details of the number of birds shot, twice annually at the end of January and June. Over 100 of these returns are still outstanding for the June return, breaking the conditions upon which the licence was granted.
Failure to return the necessary forms could result in Defra not only having to terminate a current licence but also having to refuse one in future. Commenting, Ashley Matthews, Senior Wildlife Management Advisor at Defra, said ‘We have already had to revoke one licence for failure to submit a licence return. We would much rather licencees returned their forms, than put us in a position where we need to consider revoking their licences. The data on the return forms is important.’
Long term cormorant campaigner, licence holder, and NAFAC National Council Member, Martin Read, urged those who had not made the necessary returns to do so, saying, ‘It took years of hard work to achieve the position we are in today and there are still those who argue against any cormorants being shot. A failure to comply with the conditions of the licence not only weakens our case, but also helps those who would wish to see less licences being issued. Everyone concerned should return their forms immediately’