Barbel stocks are believed to be at an all-time high after news that a record number of the species were stocked into UK rivers by the Environment Agency last year.
Stocking figures released by the EA revealed that waterways such as the Nene, Great Ouse, Wharfe, Severn, Trent and Yorkshire’s Aire and Dearne received thousands of barbel in a bid to safeguard stocks.
A total of more than 80,000 were introduced nationwide, more than 18 per cent of the 452,689 fish that were provided by the EA’s Calverton fish farm facility for the year.
Barbel Society Chairman, Steve Pope, has welcomed the news. He told Angling Times: “I am pleased to see that the EA are doing their best to maintain the species and offer anglers in the future the chance to catch what is a magnificent species. Hopefully one day the need to re-stock venues won’t be necessary and rivers can sustain themselves, but that is something that needs further study.
“The good news is, barbel are far more widespread these days and anglers are never too far from a venue where they can catch one.”
One of the numerous clubs to benefit from the stockings was Hertfordshire’s Ware AC and secretary, David Fussell, said: “We are one of the many clubs who return match results to the EA so they can survey fish stocks. They saw numbers dwindling on our stretches of the River Lea and re-stocked them with hundreds of roach, dace, tench and chub this year. I would advise other clubs to do the same and help the agency to help them.”
The Midlands area benefited the most from the annual stockings, receiving 34 per cent of the total allocation. River species were top of the list with roach the most popular species (24%) followed by barbel, dace and chub, many of which were introduced in response to either dwindling stocks due to pollution incidents or natural causes.
North East- 90,800
North West- 26,850
South East- 60,727
South West- 62,750
Species Totals and Percentage
Barbel- 82,312 which is 18.18% of total number
Bream- 48,250 which is 10.66% of total number
Chub- 51,600 which is 11.4% of total number
Crucian Carp- 22,065 which is 4.86% of total number
Dace- 71,000 which is 15.7% of total number
Grayling- 17,000 which is 3.75% of total number
Roach- 112,600 which is 24.87% of total number
Rudd- 15,350 which is 3.4% of total number
Tench- 32,512 which is 7.18% of total number