Hello from everyone at the Environment Agency,
It’s a strong start for 2022, as our teams across the country have made significant progress in a variety of projects, from progressing the veterans’ mental health ICARP therapy project to successfully restocking 250 barbel into the Upper Ouse.
We were also delighted to have held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of the Colwick (Home Sluices) fish pass. The Holme Sluices fish pass is set to be the largest in the country, aiming to remove all barriers to fish migration along the River Trent.
In the West, it was fantastic to see our team stock 250, two-year-old barbel into the Upper Ouse from our national fish farm in Calverton. All fish were marked with blue dye on their stomachs – and we encourage anglers who spot these fish to take a picture, weigh them, and get in touch via the Environment Agency - Great Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Team Facebook page.
The projects below are financed by rod licence income, with similar essential activity taking place across the country to improve angling service and protect and enhance our fisheries.
Busy and muddy times at Calverton Fish Farm
It can be a muddy business at Calverton Fish Farm. Dan Clark, Fish Farm Operative at the Environment Agency, explains that at “this time of year we drain all of our ponds to make sure all of the fish are accounted for. It’s a very muddy job, on hands and knees and sometimes in the ice. But at the fish farm we love It! It’s great to see how the fish have grown and it’s always good fun”.
It is also a busy time at Calverton with early starts for the team to ensure they deliver the last of their second-year fish across the country. Dan tells us however “it’s great to catch up with fisheries officers around the country and, of course, it’s always nice meeting the angling clubs, because they are always happy to see their rod licence-funded fish.”
Construction Starts at Colwick (Holme Sluices) Fish Pass
On 28th January, our team held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of the Colwick (Holme Sluices) Fish Pass, set to be the largest fish pass in the country.
The event was held at Colwick Country Park in Nottingham and was attended by Environment Agency Area Director, Louise Cresswell, Tom Randall MP along with the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Cllr David Trimble, and representatives of Nottingham City Council.
It is the first scheme of the ambitious Trent Gateway Partnership which aims to remove all barriers to fish migration along the River Trent. We are aiming to allow fish to migrate along further stretches of the River Trent and its tributaries, including salmon and trout.
Thanks to rod licence income from our anglers, we are able to carry out fish pass projects across the country on rivers and streams of all sizes. They help to open up and enhance our rivers and streams while retaining river levels and the activities that rely on these managed environments
Construction of the Colwick (Home Sluices) fish pass will run until 2023 with further details available at this Environment Agency webpage.
Veteran’s fishery making good progress
Our teams in the East are making significant progress on the veterans’ mental health ICARP therapy project. Work undertaken includes fish stockings, habitat creation and ground work development, meaning that completion is on the horizon.
Environment Agency staff have been assisting with fish relocation, netting for stock level surveys and setting up partnerships with local fishing clubs and consultancies. It has not only brought a community of fishery specialists together, but we have seen good will gestures from fence builders and fish farmers, to local beehive providers, all in support of the project.
Fishing, and immersing oneself in nature, has been proven to be a hugely effective tool in promoting and improving mental wellbeing. The Environment Agency is looking at this pivotal project as a key template for future efforts to support community projects that aim to serve benefits to local communities.
Restocking of 250 barbel into the Upper Ouse
Our team in the West stocked 250, two-year-old barbel into the Upper Ouse from our national fish farm in Calverton. The fish were all marked with blue dye on their stomachs to aid future identification – bringing the number of blue-bellied fish stocked across the Great Ouse and Ivel since 2019 to 490. The largest of these fish to be caught so far weighed in at just over 8lb.
Many of our industrialized rivers have improved dramatically in water quality in the last 30 years and restocking efforts from Calverton has accelerated the restoration of natural fish stocks and viable fisheries.
We encourage anglers who spot these marked fish to take a picture, weigh them, and get in touch, via the Environment Agency - Great Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Team Facebook page, in order to help us understand the movement of these fish and the success of the stockings.
Virtual Fisheries Forum
As part of the work which the Angling Trust delivers on our behalf, they organise forums and presentations on issues that are of interest to fishing clubs and individual anglers. The latest one, a Guide Health and Safety Requirements for Projects and Working Parties, was the most popular so far, with over 200 people dialling in on the night. All the presentations from The Institute of fisheries Management and the Angling Trust are available to watch on catch up.
The virtual forums are funded through reinvesting income received by the Environment Agency from fishing licence sales.
River Basin Management Consultation
The Environment Agency has launched a consultation to update the river basin management plans which protect and improve the water environment. The consultation covers draft plans for all river basin districts. The EA would like feedback from the public to help inform and improve the draft plans – this includes our angling community. The public will have the opportunity to provide comments on any other aspects of the draft plans and we suggest you read through that are entirely in England, along with the Severn which lies partly in Wales.
The Environment Agency would like your feedback to help inform and improve the draft plans. The consultation provides you with the opportunity to comment on any aspect of the draft plans. Please read through the consultation pages before reading the draft plans themselves. We welcome your response before the consultation closes on 22 April 2022.
River Ancholme Monitoring
The Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire Fisheries team are pleased to announce that Jake Reeds of the analysis and reporting team has recently completed a monitoring project on the River Ancholme.
Whilst the project forms part of the team’s regular monitoring, their use of sonar technology will go forward to inform them of where fisheries improvements and projects are most needed to be delivered in the coming year.
Don’t forget to stay in touch You can stay up to date with the latest news and information from the Environment Agency on Twitter and Instagram at @envagency.