WITH the 2004 traditional coarse fishing season in prospect there has never been a better time for anglers, commonly known as the eyes and ears of Britain's waterways, to monitor the damage done to our fish stocks by cormorants.

Ben Bradshaw MP last week told the House of Commons that "I accept the concern .... expressed on anglers' behalf that serious localised problems exist (with cormorants), and I will re-examine this issue to see whether more can be done".

I would urge anglers to help DEFRA solve this growing problem by sending in evidence, whether anecdotal or scientific, to give them an idea of how huge this crisis is.

Only by people telling DEFRA, as well as applying for licences to cull cormorants and other piscivorous birds, can a real view of the problem be gained, and therefore steps taken to preserve fish stocks.

It would be unforgivable for apathy to win the day and alter our sport for all time.

Charles Jardine, Countryside Alliance Campaign for Angling.