The group, which includes BASC, the Salmon & Trout Association and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, says that fishery managers must be allowed greater freedom to control bird numbers without expensive and time consuming red tape.

Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd presented a statement signed by all 11 organisations to DEFRA minister Richard Benyon, whose department is currently undertaking a review into the licensing of control of fish eating birds.

Veteran wildlife film-maker Hugh Miles, speaking on behalf of the group, said: ?I have been studying and filming aquatic wildlife for the past 40 years and I am a passionate bird lover and lifelong member of the RSPB.?

?I have witnessed in that time the huge growth in the number of cormorants and goosanders and the impact they have had on fish populations.?

?Respect for our fish for their own sakes is long overdue, let alone as a vital part of our freshwater ecosystems. Without fish, the decline of our rivers and lakes and their wildlife could be disastrous.?

BASC?s Christopher Graffius told Shooting Times why his organisation was pleased to be involved in the campaign: ?Many BASC members both fish and shoot,? he said, ?and as fishermen they are well aware of the damage that cormorants do to a fishery. As shooters they are often called upon by a fishery that holds a licence to manage cormorants to carry out the shooting.?

?BASC has seen evidence that suggests that the current licensing system is not responding adequately and that fisheries are sustaining serious economic damage.?

?We support the Angling Trust in seeking a proportionate system of management which will benefit both birds, fisheries and the wider countryside.?

Any announcement of a change to licensing is not expected until the end of 2012.

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