‘Horrified’ angling group hit back at otter cull rumours in Sudbury
PUBLISHED: 06:39 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:03 13 March 2020
An angling group in Suffolk has slapped down social media rumours that it wants to cull otters because they were affecting fish stocks.
The family of otters have been spotted in the river in Brundon near Sudbury, which has been welcomed by wildlife enthusiasts.
However, Sudbury & Long Melford Angling Association (TSLMAA) has hit back saying they were 'shocked' at the social media speculation.
John Weddup, secretary treasurer of the TSLMAA said: 'I can't believe it. We as an angling club are absolutely horrified at this and I can confirm that these culling rumours are completely untrue - we intend on doing no such thing and never would.
'We enjoy fishing because we love being in nature so why on earth would we harm or kill such a beautiful creature?
'We all working really hard to improve the natural habitat in the area and actively support and promote all wildlife including the otters.
'We work closely with the Environment Agency (EA) and with Natural England to ensure our local wildlife is healthy and thriving and we were as delighted as anybody to see the otters at Brundon.'
Matt Byham, administrator for the Stunning Sudbury Facebook group, has been regularly posting pictures of the otter family.
When asked about the culling rumours he said: 'I wouldn't know personally but I think it's just a rumour.
'Obviously this hasn't occurred but most of us would be upset as there is a few of us who go around the whole of the water meadows not just to see them but other wildlife too.'
Otters are strictly protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) under which it is illegal to kill or remove an otter from the wildlife without a licence.
A 1950s flood alleviation scheme and the increased use of pesticides saw a decline of otter populations in Sudbury.
But in recent times an increasing number have returned to the area, establishing themselves on the River Stour in west Suffolk to the delight of nature lovers.
A spokesperson for the EA said: 'We work closely with local angling clubs such as Sudbury and Long Melford to improve the natural environment for a range of animals, including otters and fish.
'We understand that the presence of otters to some anglers can be a cause for concern and we work with angling clubs to provide advice and guidance on how to manage otter predation.
'We would like to remind everyone that otters are protected by law and harming them or their homes is a criminal offence.'