Landmark Kennet coarse fish hatchery opens

by Dominic Garnett |
Published on

Faced with declining fish stocks, anglers in Berkshire have taken the bold step of creating their very own hatchery to revive the River Kennet.

A genuine first of its kind, the new Kennet Hatchery on the Englefield Estate is the biggest such operation outside the EA’s Calverton operation.

With spawning conditions increasingly difficult for fish, Reading and District AA spearheaded a group of interested parties including Newbury AA, Kennet Valley Fisheries Association and CALPAC to create the new hatchery.

“Once you hit a point where the primary species in a river is invasive crayfish and not indigenous species, you have a problem” said Reading DAA’s Martin Salter, who added that even after extensive habitat improvements and gravel jetting, stocks were struggling to improve, leading to the decision to rear fish in captivity to give tomorrow’s fry a fighting chance.

“The more young fish we can get past the crayfish barrier, the more coarse fish we can get back in the river,” Martin told an audience at the opening ceremony, as he paid tribute to the “achievements of hatchery manager Del Shackleton and the team whose hard work has made this dream a reality.”


Guests at the event included representatives from the Angling Trust, Wild Trout Trust, Thames Water, Environment Agency and other parties. Lord Richard Benyon declared the project open with the symbolic handing over of a fish mascot to Del.

Work is set to begin immediately this spring, using Kennet stock to rear thousands of dace, roach, chub and barbel fry. Around 70% of the new fish will be released into the lower river as soon as they are big enough to survive in the wild, while the remaining 30% will be kept longer and released as mature fish.

More about the not-for-profit enterprise, as well as channels for donations can be found at:

This page is a free example of the amazing content Angling Times Members get every single week. Becoming an Angling Times Member gives you access to award-winning magazine content, member rewards, our back issue archives, bonus content and more! Join our fishing community and find out more today!

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us