A significant milestone was reached this week with the stocking of the Environment Agency’s 10 millionth coarse fish.
The landmark fish was one of around 5,000 roach and crucians from Calverton Fish Farm – the EA’s national coarse fish rearing unit – to be introduced into Corby Boating Lake in Northamptonshire, as part of a routine re-stocking strategy, the like of which occur on waters across the UK every autumn. The fish arrived at the lake in special oxygen fed tanks after making the 50 mile journey from Nottingham following a recommendation from regional fishery officers.
EA team leader Alan Henshaw, who was present at the stocking, said: “We are very proud to have our 10 millionth fish produced on site to be introduced to the environment. It takes us approximately two years of hard work to raise these fish, by which time we consider them to be an acceptable age and size to release into the wild.
“Our fish are raised in a special way to ensure that they can survive and hopefully produce offspring. That’s how we boost the fish populations throughout England and Wales by giving nature a helping hand.”
Calverton Fish Farm is run on rod licence money, produces between 350 and 400 thousand fish each year and has been in operation since 1939. The unit emphasises their fish rearing strategies with the rejuvenation of waters, particularly rivers, in mind and this is evident in species breakdown, with nearly 50 per cent of fish leaving Calverton being running water species such as dace, barbel and chub. However, the amount of stillwaters being stocked in recent years is now on the increase.
Andy Beale, a monitoring officer for the EA, added: “It is difficult to balance anglers needs with that of the fishes, so we have to consider both when we make stocking decisions. In this lake we added roach and crucians because these are species already present and also they are easier to catch which is vital on a council run lake like Corby where kids like to come and fish.”
Milton Keynes Angling Association chairman Trevor Johnson, whose club control over 15 miles of canal and riverbank in the South East as well as numerous stillwaters, believes fish stockings are necessary for the future of UK waters. “Venues such as Adams Mill on the Great Ouse have profited significantly from the recent EA barbel stockings and the anglers will reap the rewards from this in years to come. I am delighted to see the EA achieve such a milestone and look forward to the next 10m being stocked” he said.
See this week's Angling Times for a behind the scenes look at the work done at Calverton, on sale Tuesday, November 12.
Percentages of EA stockings by species:
Roach - 21.2%
Chub - 18.2%
Dace - 17.3%
Tench - 13.6%
Bream - 12.7%
Barbel - 8.4%
Crucians - 5.8%
Rudd - 2.8%