Fishery owners across the nation are being forced into taking drastic measures to protect their fish stocks as one of the coldest winters on record continues to grip the UK.
Hundreds of fisheries have been under thick ice for well over a month, leaving many venue bosses to count the cost of the big freeze as plunging oxygen levels on frozen waters cause widespread fish deaths.
And with forecasters predicting further freezing conditions in the weeks to come, one fishery owner has taken matters into her own hands, pumping neat oxygen under the ice to help save her fish.
But Sarah Thompson at Barford Lakes in Norwich, Norfolk, hasn’t invested thousands of pounds in high-tech aeration systems or spent days smashing through thick layers of ice. She’s saved the lives of her stocks of carp, tench, bream and roach with just a canister of neat oxygen and a length of plastic pipe.
“The ice saw the oxygen levels on one of our lakes drop dangerously low,” Sarah told AT. “We needed to do something fast and just breaking the ice wasn’t enough.
“Pumping in the neat oxygen was a revelation because it was a simple, quick and stress free method of getting oxygen into the water.
“You can physically see big bubbles of oxygen travelling underneath the ice as you begin to pump it in and as it’s trapped it gets absorbed by the water.
“This method really did save the day and I advise other fishery owners to do the same and have it on standby because it’s really effective when you need to do something quick,” she added.
The procedure that Sarah uses is extremely simple. A length of plastic pipe is connected directly to the oxygen canister with the other end passed through a small hole created in the ice before the oxygen is released. It is an effective method which also comes highly recommended by some of the biggest names in the fishing industry.
Co-owner of VS Fisheries, Viv Shears has over 15 years experience in breeding and stocking coarse species across the UK and shares the opinion that venues should consider this method when lakes are covered with ice.
“Breaking the ice doesn’t get oxygen to your fishery quickly and even though it’s a viable preventative measure, it’s sensible to have oxygen on standby,” he told AT.
“Fisheries get into trouble because they don’t monitor oxygen levels and don’t have any emergency plans in place. What Sarah’s done at Barford is a perfect example of what procedures should be carried out by responsible fishery owners.”