Otters are protected by law. Otters are designated and protected as European protected species (EPS). EPS are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

It is an offence to:

deliberately kill, injure, disturb or capture them
damage or destroy their breeding sites and resting places even if otters are not present

possess, control or transport them (alive or dead)

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to intentionally or recklessly:

disturb otters while they occupy a structure or place used for shelter or protection
obstruct access to a place of shelter or protection


Cormorants are fisheating birds of marine and freshwater habitats. They are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) and the EU Birds Directive, making it illegal to kill them or to take or destroy their eggs and nests (when in use or being built), except under licence.


As the law stands, it is illegal to return a zander or any other nonnative fish species to the canal network. This is set out in the terms and conditions of our KIFR permits. You are allowed to take zander classified by DEFRA as nonnative, for the pot.