EA ban on stocking F1s is a little too late says Keith Arthur

It is a bizarre decision by the EA to refuse Neil Grantham the right to stock more F1s into his superb fishery. I could understand it if it had already prevented him from stocking F1s and F2s (mirror carp reared for the table in Israel) but it hadn't.

From what I have been told the EA granted permission because the original stocks were vaccinated against KHV using a ‘live’ vaccine. Whether that is fact or not it would appear disingenuous of the Agency to now refuse further stockings.

If I had my way, I’d turn back time and dis-invent F1s as it would appear that in many cases outbreaks of KHV have followed them around. It may be coincidence, it may be that the fish were released into already grossly-overstocked fisheries, but what can’t be denied on any level by any person is that it has happened.

If permission has been refused because of the possibility of these ‘non-viable’ hybrids escaping into rivers, is there any justification at all for permission having been granted at fisheries such as Barston Lakes ¬ another post-F1 KHV site? It is right next to the River Blythe, and there have been suggestions that the virus made its way down the valley to other fisheries - also containing F1s.

Or are we seeing a new stance by the EA to simply ban F1s being stocked into fisheries? If that is the case I applaud the move, even if it is many years too late. I know many anglers enjoy targeting F1s: they feed in most weathers, are very worthy opponents and appear to be the perfect match-angler’s fish.

From a fishery-management perspective, they apparently don’t breed, which some may consider a benefit, but if fish-dealer Simon Hughes is bemoaning a loss of £50k pa from Lindholme they would appear to be an expensive option compared to self-sustaining roach, bream or crucians.

F1s were originally touted as crucian carp/brown goldfish ‘mongrels’ that wouldn’t reproduce or grow beyond 4lb. Ian Heaps has them in his Holgan Farm fishery and they are lovely little fish. Suddenly F1s became brown goldfish/ king (common or mirror) carp that grow much larger (I’ve seen a seven-pounder) and the potential to carry KHV in the biology of the latter and immunity from the virus in the genes of the former came into play.

We have KHV in every EA region and the authorities seem powerless to do anything about it. This move by the EA may be the first step towards asserting some control. Shame it is way too late to make a significant difference.