Saturday, 17 April 2010

Happy ending for Cornish killer pike saga

When stories about killer pike in a Cornish duck pond began hitting the papers, we wondered who'd started all the media hysteria.

We launched a complaint when we found out the source was the Environment Agency.

"The once tranquil waters of Par Duck Pond near St Blazey have been disturbed by hungry pike that are chomping their way through the local fish population," began an EA press release the BBC, local media and even a national newspaper happily copied and pasted, without any effort to check the facts about pike.

Our complaint to the EA said: "Common sense, not to mention accuracy appear to have been taking a day off when it was issued.

"We expect better from the EA. We certainly don't expect the custodian of our nation's fisheries to recycle such groundless hysteria."

We enclosed a copy of Pike in Your Waters - which you can download for free from our website.

Now the EA says it will review future communications and take our complaint into account.

"We do accept your point that the press release "sensationalises" negative aspects of pike behaviour and will ensure that future press releases take your concerns into account," Simon Toms, the agency's fisheries, recreation and biodiversity team leader for Cornwall said in his response.

Mr Toms's letter also revealed a happy outcome to the saga: "We were keen to conserve and relocate any pike caught at Par duck pond as we are fully aware of their value as a predatory species anglers enjoy catching.

"A health check was carried out and proved that the opike were free of any damaging fish parasites, so enabling the subsequent movement of pike uop to 10lbs to Trenchford Reservoir."

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