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Look out, ducks! France’s giant catfish are decimating the population

This invasive species may be harmless to humans but poses a real threat to local waterfowl, our reader warns

Silures are now an established part of French river life Pic: Kletr / Shutterstock

I read with some concern the article on giant catfish (silures). In it, Rémi Masson stated these monsters are non-invasive and pose no harm to river life.

Read more: ‘Monster’ cannibal fish in French rivers, but no threat to humans

We live on the banks of the Mayenne river and over the past 25 years have witnessed the eradication of the small river catfish eaten by silures, which may please the fishermen.

‘Eaten within two to three days’

Much more worrying is the decimation of our wild duck population, once prolific but now sadly dramatically reduced by silures.

We established a wildlife pond which hosts some 20 to 30 ducks who come and go as they please but which now comprises less than 10% females.

The mums and ducklings, when ready, go down to the river but are eaten by silures within two to three days.

Feather-stuffed stomachs

Proof of this was found three years ago in Château-Gontier when two 2m-long silures were gutted and their stomachs found to be stuffed with adult female duck feathers.

I would urge Mr Masson to speak to locals who live by the rivers and canvass their thoughts on the subject. And perhaps reserve some small affection for our poor duck population!

Doug Hepburn, by email

Share a point of view on an aspect of French life at  The Connexion, Le Grande Bretagne, 30 av. Grande Bretagne, 98000 Monaco.

Please include your name and department of France or country where you live. Letters used may be edited for space and sense; the Editor’s decision is final. Letters received may be used online and/or in print.

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