Environment Agency’s Fish Farm team has been out spreading good cheer during the festive season with their Christmas restocking program.
They may not be Santa’s ‘elvers’ but the Calverton team has been hard at work delivering fish to rivers, ponds and lakes the length and breadth of England including waters around Durham in the north, Isle of Wight in the south, Herefordshire in the west, Suffolk in the east and the River Parchey at King’s Sedgemoor Drain in Somerset.
In the first 4 weeks of the stocking season (14 November to 14 December) 143,000 fish reared for up to 18 months have been driven from the Fish Farm in Nottinghamshire and released into 41 still waters and 30 rivers with plenty more planned for the coming weeks.
The main reasons for stocking Calverton-bred fish and larvae are: replacing stocks lost to pollution or following habitat or water quality improvements; improving stocks where natural reproduction is low; and helping to create fisheries in areas where there is a shortage of angling opportunities.
The species raised at Calverton include Barbel, Bream, Chub, Roach, Dace, Rudd, Tench, Crucian carp, and Grayling. Fish are reared for up to 18 months.
These fish play an important role in the work of the Environment Agency and its partners to restore, improve and develop sustainable fisheries in England.
Kevin Austin, Environment Agency Deputy Director of Fisheries said:
We encourage anglers to enjoy fishing through the festive holidays. A fishing rod licence also makes an excellent Christmas gift for someone who doesn’t have one but wants to give it a go.
The work of EA’s National Fish Farm is funded by income from licence fees, so in the lead up to Christmas it’s great to see the fish farm continuing to produce the strong and healthy fish needed for restocking and recovery.
Alan Henshaw, Calverton Fish Farm Team Leader said:
The Christmas stockings have been extra full this season thanks to a lot of hard work and the exceptional growth of the fish during the warm summer.
Stocking more than 70 different waters in a month shows what our busy team can do at this time of year as the stocking season starts. There’s still a lot of work ahead to complete the program and deliver more great healthy young fish to benefit our lakes and rivers this season.