Chris White to Ruth Jenkins (NRW): 3rd June

Ruth,

I find it sad that we are both taking time to defend our positions, a reflection perhaps on the poor NRW relationship with one of its major stakeholders who are treated with contempt.  The anger and frustration of the angling community is a result of NRW being more concerned with a legal challenge from Wild Justice/RSPB rather than accepting that [a major] part of the decline in migratory fish stocks is due to avian predation.  We have been raising this issue for more than 10 years and yet we are now expected to accept the ‘need of a study’ simply to defend NRW from potential legal action.

I can confirm that I was part of the Skype combined Dee & Clwyd and Gwynedd LFG meeting and in attendance at the other meetings.  You seem to have misconstrued my comments about not being responsible for comments made in my name at meetings which I was not present.  My concern was that my name had ben mentioned re FEB’s at the  Mid and South Wales joint LFG meetings at which Clare Pillman also participated (and in the recent T&S report for the Dee).  

It is interesting that you say you have the notes of the LFG meetings as these have not yet been forwarded to the Dee & Clwyd/Gwynedd LFG members. 

It is unclear if the Skype meeting was recorded if it was there should be a transcript and perhaps this will demonstrate that I did not criticise Steve Ormerod but I may well have raised issues about the FEB presentation at the Fisheries Forum. 

I am not aware of publicly criticising Steve Ormerod and the impression is that NRW are trying to defend the criticism of the report from the FEB group by attacking me simply to draw attention away for the inaccuracies in FEB report which to a lay person suggests that goosander numbers are in decline and therefore there is no need for any action.   

In my letter to Sir David Henshaw I provide evidence from the BTO which clearly shows the increase in goosander numbers in Wales over the winter period when significant damage is done to migratory fish stocks on upland spawning streams.  Information on overwintering goosander numbers in Wales was [deliberately] omitted in the FEB report and therefore any criticism levelled at NRW is justifiable either by me or others.  My perception is there was been no challenge to the accuracy of the information presented and it has been accepted on face value as it causes no issues with the RSPB.     

The issue of the damage being inflicted to migratory fish stocks by FEB’s has been raised at LFG meetings for more than 10 years but has been dismissed for fear of upsetting the RSPB by NRW and its predecessor resulting in considerable frustration and anger within the angling community due to the continued procrastination on this subject. 

I talked to Mervyn Williams who chairs the Dee & Clwyd LFG last night and asked him for his recollection of what was said re FEB’s.  Mervyn reminded me that due to his remote location and poor broadband he could not join the Skype meeting from his home and that I had linked him via my connection using my mobile so that he could take part in the meeting.  Mervyn said that he had raised issues regarding FEB’s and may well have brought up the potential conflict of interest of Steve Ormerod due to his association with the RSPB (Mervyn is a member of the RSPB), others (Chris Porteous?) may also have raised this issue but without the transcript it is difficult from memory to know who said what.  As I have not had sight of the minutes of this meeting I am not in a position to challenge what was said or how it was recorded in the minutes. 

I suspect that Steve’s appointment to Chair both the fisheries forum and FEB group was made based upon his background i.e. he was the most suitable candidate of all the NRW Board members.  I doubt that any consideration was given to a potential conflict of interest which could compromise him.  NRW now seems to want to retrospectively declare this and other potential conflicts going forward – a step in the right direction albeit a little late. 

I pointed out in my initial reply to you I do not challenge the integrity of Steve Ormerod and I stand by this.

The accusation that I public criticised Steve Ormerod is unfounded and I await the response from Sir David Henshaw before I take this any further. 

Until I receive the response from Sir David Henshaw there is little point in further dialogue.  My preference is to have an open and honest conversation as having an argument via email is not very constructive.

Chris

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