The impact of otters on fisheries has been assessed.

The Angling Trust and the Institute of Fisheries Management held a workshop for academics, Defra, the Environment Agency and fisheries and angling groups.

Those present heard that the resurgence of otter numbers had been driven by natural regeneration as a result of the withdrawal of harmful chemicals in the 1970s and 1980s.

Although official surveys have a low level of confidence about the numbers of otters nationwide, there is a consensus that numbers are growing and they are becoming more widespread, and there is a worry in some areas that they may have reached a maximum population.

Presentations discussed the impact of otters on river and still water fisheries, and on trout farms which demonstrated significant losses in some parts of the country.

However, there were many health fisheries in places where otters were present in significant numbers, and other environmental pressures such as pollution, over-abstraction, habitat damage and invasive species were heard to have a major impact on many fish populations.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said: "There is no doubt that there have been very significant problems on many still water and river fisheries as otters have spread into new areas.

"Fishery management will have to adapt to the presence of otters over the coming years as they reach their natural balance and our organisations are committed to doing everything we can to support clubs and fisheries through that process.

"Urgent action is needed to tackle the many environmental threats to rivers and lakes to ensure that fisheries can be more resilient to predation."

The outcomes from there meeting included more information being available stating the legal situation, streamlining the consent for otter fencing on still waters and press for more funding, aid the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned otters.