Biggest investigation in to running water predator stocks launched

The biggest ever survey in to predator stocks in a number of the country’s most popular rivers is set to be launched – and you can get involved.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of research currently done to assess the amount of pike and zander in the UK’s waterways, but that is set to change after a campaign by a top Angling Trust official made a significant breakthrough.

Fishery Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar, has piled pressure on the Environment Agency to conduct an in-depth analysis of predatory species inhabiting the Wye, Severn and Warwickshire Avon, and the government body have now offered their assistance.

Anglers who fish any of the waterways are being invited to attend a training day at Bridgnorth’s Woodland Lodge Park Pools on June 1, where they will be shown how to use kits to safely remove scales from fish.

Participants will then be asked to remove a single scale from any pike or zander that they catch and send it to the EA where the data collected will be used to work out growth rates and establish how far the fish are travelling throughout the watercourse.
“Lots of research has been conducted to analyse other species in our rivers but predators have been completely ignored,” Dilip told Angling Times.

“It amazes me that it has taken this long to get to this stage as predators play a vital part in maintaining a balanced river system. It’s important we understand how healthy the stocks are and how they behave,” he added.

Although the initial trial will be staged on the trio of Midlands venues there are hopes it can soon grow. “I hope people realise what we are trying to achieve and liaise with EA officials close to where they live to create similar schemes on other major rivers that are home to pike and zander,” added Dilip.

Anyone wishing to participate should email

What can a scale tell you?
Experts at the Environment Agency will be able to determine approximately how old the fish is and work out growth rates. Technology will allow them to recognise if they have received scales from the same fish more than once and this can help assess how far it has travelled based on where it was caught each time.

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