Checking your otter fence should form part of your essential fisheries management tasks that need to be undertaken for fish welfare purposes, such as feeding and water quality checks.
Essential otter fencing maintenance
- The boundary fence in its entirety must be checked regularly, including essential repairs to splayed or broken wires and particularly those at or near ground level.
- Ensure skirts continue to be securely affixed to the ground and ideally covered with spoil.
- If rabbit/chicken wire has been used, look out for larger holes which could be used by an otter to gain entry.
- It’s essential the boundary is checked immediately following severe gales and any damage repaired immediately.
- · To assist with the visual inspection of the fence line, encroaching vegetation may need to be controlled on a regular basis. Avoid using brushcutters, since these can easily cut the wire.
- Ensure that all inlets & outlets, both above & below the water level are secure and otter proof, especially following periods of heavy rainfall.
- Ensure the gates continue to close properly allowing no gap greater than 50mm on either the hanging or clashing side, or underneath the gate, whereby an otter may gain access. And, maintain the solid base beneath the gate to prevent an otter being able to dig under.
- Look for possible entry points being dug in, or out by rabbits, badgers etc.
- Unfortunately, some sites have suffered from deliberate vandalism of their fence lines in the past, with holes being cut through the fence, so it’s imperative to check the boundary fence and to maintain good relations.
- If you use either an electric fence to protect your fishery or incorporate electric scare wires in addition to a ‘barrier’ fence, then please ensure the circuit is intact and not shorting out and that the battery life is adequate.
- Finally, if you think you may have a problem and are unsure of the point of entry, then consider installing a trail camera, which may reduce unnecessary travel.
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