Barbel future boosted by fresh stock

A project has been launched to secure the future of some of the nation’s most prolific big barbel rivers.

Numerous waterways have seen an unprecedented number of specimen fish reported this season, with both the River Nene and Derbyshire Derwent producing several fish over the 16lb-barrier since June 16.

Despite the optimism over the form of these venues, concerns have been raised that very few small barbel have been landed, leading to the fears that the top class action could soon peter out once the current crop of big fish die off.

Efforts are now being made to eradicate those doubts, with Environment Agency staff stocking thousands of small barbel in to several rivers across the country.

Two locations on the Nene have welcomed new introductions, with stretches at Earls Barton and Irthlingborough both gaining 750 fish.

Several stretches of Derbyshire Derwent controlled by the Earl of Harrington’s Angling Club have also been earmarked for similar stockings.

Club treasurer Teresa Parr is confident this will provide a major boost to the waterway. She said: “It's going to help secure the barbel fishing for the future which is very important and this in-turn will attract more people to fish what is an up-and-coming waterway with huge potential.”

The EA have also shown their commitment to help the species flourish in venues that are not yet renowned for barbel, with Yorkshire’s River Aire receiving a top up of 3,000, and its neighbour the Dearne being stocked with the same quantity – its first introduction of the species for a decade.

Barbel Society chairman Steve Pope has welcomed the move and told Angling Times: “It’s really great news that the EA continue to stock barbel as not only does it help spread the species and bolster existing stocks, but also help revive venues that have suffered from predation.”