I was having a chat with two fisherman yesterday who have permission from the owner to fish the ponds at Oats Royd. When I told them that during my birding forays I used to see big carp on the surface in summer months upto and including 2011, they responded with some dismaying news indeed.
All the big fish and most other fish have now been taken from the ponds by poachers. One of them paid a visit recently and could find only two small fish in a period of hours. I mentioned on March 29 this year that I had seen two very unsavoury characters walking from the ponds upto Bradshaw carrying rods. They responded that it got more industrial than that – on one occasion a small trawling net was discovered submersed!
Two years back there were two domestic white geese happily esconced here and one evening I found the recent remains of one spread out on the bank. One of these guys told me he had actually fished the body of the bird from the water one or two nights before. It bore all the hallmarks of having been given a good stoning, which is what I feel the perpetrators should have done to them. The remaining goose has in the past 6 months or so got a new partner, for how long remains to be seen.
The landowner has declared the reserve is for everybody; obviously everybody is not for the reserve.