Growing predation concerns

Posted By - Embryo Angling

By now you have all heard about the Embryo project, it has been established for a few years now and is helping fisheries all over the country to fund and fence lakes to protect the stock from otter attacks. In addition to this Embryo takes on waters that have had otter problems in the past and need attention, resources and money that the previous owners didn’t have. These neglected fisheries are then fenced, re-stocked and opened as fisheries that are managed and run correctly, allowing access to high quality fish, for every day anglers.

The company was set up by Danny Fairbrass, out of his own pocket to protect the future of our sport.

We want to highlight the fact that the otter problem in this country is deadly for fisheries, it seems many people don’t know about or believe what a single otter can do to a fishery in little to no time. Once an otter knows that a lake is an easy target it will return again and again to kill and feed on the carp that live there.  This is happening all over the country all the time, and little by little our stocks are depleting.


As anglers, we need to be proactive as a group and do all we can to raise awareness and funding to help ensure fisheries are able to fence their lakes and that the dangers are known to be real.

Here are a few quotes from a small handful of anglers we asked about their experiences, it didn’t surprise me that everyone I asked had a story about otters.


 Mark Bryant said:

“The increased otter population it having a huge effect of the fishing lakes that I run and am involved in. I would hazard accuse that that locally they have increased over 100% in the last two years. Already they have wiped some of the club waters here on the Cotswold water park. These waters are crucially important to fuel the next generation of carp anglers.”


Jim Wilson said:

“Otters have become more and more prevalent over the last 5 to 10 years since there re-introduction back into the wild, I have first-hand experience of how devastating they can be, with them having had a big impact on a few local waters.

The waters I tend to find myself drawn towards are usually low stock and a little off the radar and often fairly left alone and out of the way and otters have played a big part in the downfall of a few such venues, I like the idea of chasing hard to catch carp, but that task is even harder if there no longer there thanks to the Otter. Making the kind of venue I love to fish harder to find.”


Richard Stewart said :

 “The sight of an old, familiar carp dragged up the bank by an otter, the light extinguished from its eyes, is sure to live long in the memory of anyone who’s seen it. Sadly, it’s a sight that I’ve seen twice in the last few months.

Dorchester Lake in Oxfordshire, for instance, has had irreplaceable specimens taken by otters in the last few years. It’s a water that I know well and have fished on and off since I first caught one of its carp in 2006. Until recently, it held one of the most unique and spectacular stocks of big carp that I’ve ever been fortunate enough to fish for.

Dramatic footage of one of its low stock of mirrors, Floppy Tail, being tended to shortly after suffering near-fatal wounds did the rounds on social media a couple of years back. The care that lads like Ross Jelfs and Mark Betteridge were able to give Floppy saved its life, and it lived for a couple more years, before it finally fell prey to the otters recently.

Close to the River Thame, Dorchester has seen intense predation by otters every winter for a few years now, and fencing remains the only hope to restore this lovely, old lake to its former glory. Waters CAN rise again, but only if we protect them. I hold no ill-feeling towards the otter. It’s a beautiful, superbly adapted predator that is flourishing among our well-stocked (and unfortunately, some less well stocked) waters. Since it was wiped out, we’ve created an environment that is akin to having “a McDonalds on every corner” as Simon Scott put it, so having created and nurtured our fisheries, we MUST protect them!”


Embryo have launched a calendar that is available to all from all Korda stockists or through Korda24. The calendar itself retails at £7.99 and for each one sold we will donate £7.00 directly to fencing for a fishery. This project has already generated 100’s of metre’s of fencing but we want to keep the momentum up and create as much funding as we can for what, I’m sure you will agree, is a very good cause.

Not only is it for a good cause you also get a calendar full of stunning high quality images to brighten up your wall.




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