The return of otters to our river banks could have a big impact on angling in the county and beyond, and it’s not all good news!

The Environment Agency have recently announced that otters have been found in every county except Kent, and the Thames and its tributaries show the biggest increase.

They say if this continues, we can expect a full recovery in less than 20 years.

While I am all in favour of supporting the survival of these creatures, I hope that the situation can be controlled and we don’t let other creatures suffer.

For many years, otters have been persecuted by hunting and poisoned by pesticides, and their recovery has been put down to dramatic improvements in water quality.

DEFRA minister Richard Beny-on said: “Thanks to the dramatic improvements, we have seen the return of the otter to every region in England, bringing it back from the brink of extinction.”

Benyon also says that more work will be done to improve water quality further and to help wildlife.

This is OK in principle, but besides signal crayfish, cormorants, abstraction and pollution, we now have otters for our fish to contend with.

These creatures eat fish, and with their staple diet, the eel, in decline, they will have to eat everything else swimming in our rivers.

This could cause a number of commercial fisheries to come under threat.

We have already read in weekly angling papers about the large numbers of carp being eaten and the killing of huge barbel on the Ouse at Adams Mill.

Otters are right at the top of the food change, and most certainly areas that they inhabit will suffer.

To what extent, we do not know, but fish numbers will drop.

By all means we can support the survival of these creatures, but not at the cost of fishing stocks.

I just hope that the situation is managed well so the effect is not too serious.