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  1. #1
    Phil Hackett 2 Guest

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    On BBC Radio 4s Home Planet Programme today, the presenter Richard Daniels made a comment whilst the programme and panel were discussing Herons, their predator status and past persecution, that these birds “were not the anglers best friends.” The subtle implication of this statement was that, anglers are still persecuting them.

    As any angler of many years standing knows, this has not been the case for over 40 years or more. The SAA has had no reports whatsoever of these birds causing any problems anywhere in the country. Nor have we heard of any being culled by anglers legally or illegally, again anywhere in the country. The EA has never raise in any of the meetings the SAA has had with them, any concerns about anglers persecuting these birds, nor has the SAA it raised any concerns about any problems regarding fish losses to them. On the contrary, we have pointed out that the loss of silver fish to cormorants in our view, will impact on the numbers of other fish-eating bird species including herons, kingfishes, etc.

    On the Panel was also Baroness Barber Young the Head Of the Environment Agency, whose comment to persecution of these birds was “you here less of it these days.” This is somewhat disconcerting coming from the Head of the EA. Not what you would call an outright rejection of persecution by anglers on her part, by any stretch of the imagination. .

    Given the above facts, I on behalf of the SAA would pose the following question to both the presenter and Baroness Young
    “What evidence do you have that anglers are in recent times still persecuting herons?”

    To Baroness Young
    And why, if you have any such evidence has the EA never raised the issue as a concern at any of the meetings with the SAA, or any other National Angling body?

    On behalf of the SAA and angling, I would ask you to register your protest to the BBC and Baroness Young by e-mailing the programme voicing you concerns about these comments at home.planet@bbc.co.uk

    For those wishing to make a protest by phone, the contact number is 08700 100 222

    To listen to the comments online go to the R4 web site at Home Planet at 11 minutes into it programme on RealPlayer. For those that don’t have RealPlayer, it can be downloaded for free from the BBC.

    I’d urge ALL reading this to register a protest.

    Phil Hackett
    Conservation Officer SAA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Warrington
    Posts
    544

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    A couple of years ago I rescued an injured heron from the canal. It was on the far side under the brambles. So I stripped down and went in for it.
    I called the R.S.P.C.A. and they came out.
    They said the best thing was to have it put down, as it had suffered a broken beak.

    A couple of weeks previouse Rolf Harriss had one with the same injury on his vets show. And they repaired it.
    But that was for t.v. wasn't it?

    In my expierience the B.B.C. are against anything they consider as blood sports, and that includes angling. So I am not surprised to hear this from the radio 4 programme.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Warrington
    Posts
    544

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    By the way Phil,
    I did phone the BBC a couple of weeks ago over a complaint I had with one of their presenters over an angling issue, or I should say the presenters attitude with anybody that phoned in to speak up for angling. The chap I spoke to made his feelings quite clear, He answered my questions but I still think I was fobbed off.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for alerting us Phil, I've just sent my email on this.

  5. #5
    Wolfman Woody Guest

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    I can't remember the last time herons were mentioned at any angling meeting unless it was to say to the effect "Herons are not a problem, we accept them as a natural predator of inland fish."

    I have one, some nights, settles down not 10 yards from me and picks small bleak from the river. He fishes under the light from a sodium spolight and clearly enjoys it there. I've even seen him go for a rat before.

    Ok are herons! We had 13 nesting pairs around one of our fisheries one year.

  6. #6

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    Well I did send my email, and I've already had a response ! It was from Nick Patrick, although unfortunately it doesn't say what his position is.

    Here's his response :

    Dear Steve,

    I think the panel were making reference to the response to herons 50 or so years ago when, certainly where I live in East Anglia, they weren't always treated in the caring way that you and your colleagues do today... Witness the number of stuffed herons you see in the pubs around these here parts!

    Best wishes,



    Nick Patrick

  7. #7
    Nigel Moors 2 Guest

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    I'm lucky enough to have a large college owned lake two minuteswalk from my door. In the centre of it is a large island that's home to a heronry, about 100 at last reckoning. Frequently seen when out dogwalking they never fail to stop me in my tracks.

    Haven't listened to the prog. yet but by the sounds of it, I hope it was a throwaway comment about how we might perceive them as threats to our pursuit. Presenters of programmes should be a little more careful about how they bandy about their opinions such as this.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Warrington
    Posts
    544

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    Presenters should be more carefull with their comments.
    This is one of the complaints I made Nigel, but I was told the presenter has a right to his/her own oppinion aswell.

  9. #9
    Phil Hackett 2 Guest

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    Baz my personal view is, and I make it clear here it my personal view and not as the officer for SAA, the BBC is now blatantly taking a very anti-angling stance on National Radio and TV.
    Its charter says it must give a balanced viewpoint on controversial issue. If a presenter is giving his/her opinion, pro or anti, he must under that charter afford the counter argument the same facility.
    Failure to do this breaches that charter.

    There was no member of the panel who countered the presenter’s statement, as I’ve heard them do on many occasions in the past on the programme. Neither did any panel member indicate they had any knowledge whatsoever of angling.

    The comment from Barbara Young the head of the EA was in my personal view a tacit agreeing statement with the presenter. This does not surprise me given that before her appointment to this body she was the head of the RSPB.

    If Young has any evidence that anglers are persecuting herons (which she does not) then it should be put in the public realm, and opened up to public debate and scrutiny.

    Given that she has no evidence, then she should make a Public Statement withdrawing what she said, to clear up any misunderstanding her comments may have lead people to believe.

  10. #10
    Phil Hackett 2 Guest

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    As an add on to the above posts You might like to contact the programme call FEEDBACK on R4. This programme is the complaints on air programme.

    The more complaints they get the more likely they will cover someone's e-mail on air.


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