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State fishing association defends itself against WWF statements

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State fishing association defends itself against WWF statements

In Upper Austria, otters have no longer been on the list of endangered animals since 2022. This created a legal basis to limit the spread of the animals.

The environmental organization WWF criticized the fact that the otter was being made a “scapegoat” and yesterday referred to a study commissioned by the state of Upper Austria. This shows the development of the fish population from 2018 to 2021. The hunt for otters therefore has little impact on the fish population, it said.

The State Fisheries Association immediately responded to the WWF’s statements with a three-page statement: In Upper Austria, one can currently assume a biomass loss of at least 150 tons of fish per year due to the otter. “To speak in this context of the fact that fish stocks cannot recover through otter removal seems incomprehensible with or without scientific studies,” said state fishing master Siegfried Pilgerstorfer and managing director Klaus Berg. The fact that the fish population did not increase in several areas of water examined may be due to the fact that too few otters were taken there. The decisions would be made based on the otter densities throughout Upper Austria. For the association it is clear: the otter is damaging the ecosystem. “We live in a cultural landscape and not in an intact wilderness,” the letter says.

Unity on renaturation

Upper Austria’s fishermen agree with the WWF representatives on one point: the renaturation of the waters must be pushed forward more quickly. Realistically, however, this will “take at least several decades, cost billions and cannot be implemented across the board,” said Pilgerstorfer and Berg in their joint statement.

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