Letter: Gull boom is decimating pond life

Gull population is decimating pond life.
Gull population is decimating pond life.

Myself and my other half, Janice, were victims of a gull attack alongside Whitby Harbour. Janice was taking a pizza slice lunch when a gull swooped and took the slice in one swoop - with such force that the downward draught from its wings partially dislodged my glasses.

I dread to think of the likely outcome if it was a toddler being attacked.

Further, I have regularly seen gulls walking on the road - particularly near fast food outlets - causing traffic to break or swerve and in one case, an articulated lorry driver had no option but to run over one.

We are regular visitors to the parks and gardens of the area and have seen gulls on many local ponds leading to almost total decimation of fish life - eg pond alongside Stephen Joseph Theatre; pond under Valley Road Bridge; pond within Italian Gardens; pond alongside Prince of Wales Terrace.

I am a deep sea angler and have witnessed gull attacks at sea and numerous occasions of tangling with fishing gear whilst fishing.

Over the 40 years or so I’ve been angling I have seen gull presence increase alarmingly. On a recent trip, off Whitby, we were accompanied by 40-50 gulls from the first point we stopped to fish until returning to harbour eight or so hours later. Within this time we were continuously ‘dive-bombed’ for any scrap of food and when returning to harbour, the gulls were hovering and swooping within a yard of our heads.

I would fully support effective, humane action to relieve the gull problem and, if necessary, action to dissuade people openly feeding them, issuing fines to them and to fast food operators without effective waste bins.

Ernie Sidebottom

Valley House