Outrage over slaughter of cormorants

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Bird-lovers yesterday expressed "outrage and disgust" that anglers are killing cormorants, a protected species, to preserve fish stocks.

They were responding to a report in The Angling Times which revealed the existence of "cormorant hit squads" which are breaking the law by shooting dozens of birds at a time. Landowners are hiring them in an attempt to protect their waters from the rising cormorant population. There are believed to be more than 7,000 breeding pairs in Britain, and many have moved inland to feed in freshwater fisheries.

Cormorants may be shot only under licence, and then shooters can only kill six a season. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is currently leading a three-year investigation into their effect on fish stocks.