by Freddie Sandford |

Hello from everyone at the Environment Agency.

We are pleased to be bringing you our first update of 2021! As we start the year, we continue to be on the ground patrolling areas and making sure people are fishing safely and legally. We have also been using sonar to rapidly detect any illegal traps and monitor our fish stocks. Our national fish farm has also been very busy with a Christmas restocking, with rivers across the country receiving a boost to their fish populations.

EA Calverton fish farm boosts fish numbers across the country

Over Christmas and into the new year, the EA’s national fish farm has been hard at work restocking fisheries across England. In the North East, over 26,000 fish were stocked – including chub, barbel, dace, bream, crucian carp and more. The East Midlands saw 3,000 18 month old fish stocked in the River Derwent in Derbyshire and the River Soar in Leicestershire. In the East of England, our fisheries officers picked up a range of fish including Tench, Bream, Barbel and Crucian Carp from the Environment Agency’s Fish Farm to restock the Nene and a number of Stillwater fisheries across the Welland and Nene Catchment.

This work is part of our ongoing commitment to develop, restore and create fisheries to boost opportunities for anglers. Our restocking efforts, funded by income received from the sale of fishing licences, primarily aid recovery following pollution incidents, providing a positive impact on our wider ecology and environment.


Over 26,000 fish were stocked by the EA over Christmas and New Year

EA crackdown on illegal activity continues

The Environment Agency will always prioritise protecting lives, livelihoods and the environment. Our commitment to this does not change while dealing with the effects of coronavirus. Our fisheries officers are out on the ground checking licences and carrying out intelligence-led patrols to prevent illegal and harmful activity, supported with information gathered by the Voluntary Bailiff Service.

In Lincs and Northants, EA staff have put a stop to illegal fishing attempts, recently retrieving illegal crayfish traps from the River Welland. These illegal methods can trap eels, protected native crayfish, water voles, otters and coarse fish. They are a significant risk to wildlife and fish stocks. We urge everyone to report any sightings of illegal nets or traps to our 24 hour incident hotline 0800 807060 so we can investigate. This is all part of our work to protect wildlife and the environment.

In Greater Manchester, we are currently undertaking an investigation into reports of an illegal stocking of tiger trout into a fishery. The intelligence we receive from your calls assists us in our ability to stop and prevent potentially harmful activity. Illegal stockings can lead to improper management of species which if allowed into the wider environment can pose threat to native fish.

We’re pleased fishing has been allowed to continue during the current lockdown and we are also glad to see the wellbeing benefits of this sport are being recognised. However, we must urge all anglers to act in a way that is safe and in compliance with the latest government guidance. For further guidance, see the Angling Trust's guide for anglers.


An illegal trap removed by the EA

Get Fishing Fund still open!

In December, we announced a new £100k ‘Get Fishing Fund’ to encourage more people to give fishing ago. The fund, which is distributed on our behalf by the Angling Trust, supports participation events and is available to angling clubs, coaches and fisheries but also to non- angling organisations such as schools, local authorities or charities based in England.

The fund is still open to applicants who are looking to develop an event when it is safe and legally permitted to do so. Apply at: grants.anglingtrust.net/online-application-forms/

EA deploys sonar survey boat in Lincolnshire

The Lincs and Northants team has a range of different boats that are used for our enforcement work and surveys. Our sonar survey boat has been out regularly over the last 12 months investigating critical flood defences as well as supporting our enforcement efforts. The high-resolution underwater images means the boat can check for nets/lines in the water and monitor fish populations more accurately across larger watercourses. We have recently been surveying the lower Welland in South Lincolnshire - no nets or lines were discovered and the results from the fish population survey results were good, a large shoal of overwintering bream were present in the section. The footage collected has been turned into a short documentary on the survey method and the results. Keep an eye out as this will soon be available on our Youtube channel. Remember to subscribe as further monitoring videos illustrating the work we do using sonar will follow!


The sonar boat deployed by the Lincs and Northants team

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