Fisheries experts will soon be stocking 6,000 barbel at several locations in Yorkshire as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing plans to develop and restore rivers in the region.
All of these have been reared at the agency’s fish farm and 3,000 fish will be stocked into the River Dearne at five locations between Barnsley and Adwick-upon-Dearne.
It is understood that a further 3,000 fish will be stocked into the River Aire at six locations between Kildwick and Thwaites Mill.
Both of these rivers have suffered from poor water quality and habitat loss in the past.
But a concerted effort by industry, Yorkshire Water and the EA has helped to turn these watercourses around.
This will be the first time that the EA has stocked barbel into the Dearne for over 10 years and along with habitat improvement works with such as partners Don Catchment Rivers Trust it hopes that this will provide the building blocks for a sustainable population of fish in the river.
The EA is also restoring fish passage to the Dearne, which is a tributary of the River Don and has recently completed a fish and eel pass on a weir at Adwick.
This will be the last time that the EA will restore barbel into the River Aire following a heavy re-stocking programme in recent years.
The river will also be monitored closely in the future as fish are allowed to spawn and breed naturally.
Fisheries officer Pete Turner said: “We target fish stocking activity by using data from our fish surveys and information provided by the angling community to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.
“Restoration and the creation of new fisheries for everyone to enjoy is a very important aspect to our work.”
The fish have all come from the Environment Agency’s fish farm at Calverton in Nottinghamshire where between 350,000 and 500,000 fish are produced to stock rivers across the country each year.
Meanwhile, it is not very often that you see angling mentioned in the national press but an interesting item did catch my eye recently.
It concerned a couple of rivers in Hampshire, the Test and the Itchen.
These are a couple of top trout rivers in the south of the country and can command huge fees for the fishing rights.
But the recent poor catches on both rivers have led to numerous tests for water quality.
And the results show that both of them now come into the “at risk” category due to an influx of chemicals from an as yet unknown source.
On analysis, however, the chemicals have been found to come from washing powder, dishwasher tablets and also agricultural fertilisers.
It also encourages algae to thrive and discolours the water.
The local EA scientists are investigating.