Animal rights activists shake their heads, pond keepers cheer: Up to 40 otters will soon be allowed to be caught throughout Styria each year.
In the middle of the last century the otter was as good as extinct in Styria. It was not until the 1990s that it began to spread again in this country: on the one hand because it was placed under protection by the EU Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive, on the other hand due to nature conservation measures that created a habitat for it again. Otters have become a problem for many people in the meantime In Styria there are again a good 800 otters – which represents a major challenge for many fisheries, as the animals see the fish ponds as a welcome source of food. The measures taken by the State of Styria to date include technical advice or support for pond owners during construction of fixed and electric fences with up to 3000 euros.Only live traps allowed.Now one wants to expand the otter management by another point: In the future, up to 40 animals should be allowed to be taken nationwide each year, which first have to be caught using live traps.A corresponding regulation has been issued the country at the service g submitted for assessment. This is to come into force at the beginning of 2023 and is limited to three years. Incidentally, the criteria for the exceptions are strict: they only apply to young animals and adult males. Females that could be pregnant or have young must be released immediately. Those responsible agree “The otter population has developed so strongly in recent years that measures can and must be taken to avoid serious damage . Of course, we have anchored conditions based on the strict Habitats Directive in the ordinance in order to continue to secure the stock of otters in the long term,” says the responsible state councilor Ursula Lackner (SPÖ). The rapidly growing otter population is causing massive damage to the Styrian pond industry and is threatening the fish stocks in the waters. This ordinance is a step in the right direction and I hope that, in the medium term, the level of self-sufficiency with fresh fish from Styria, which is currently only around seven percent, can be increased.”