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Dye project to identify fish migration on the Alne
Anglers in Warwickshire are being
encouraged to get involved in an
Environment Agency survey to identify how fish migrate along the River
The 2 year, £30,000 project, which
is part of a fish improvement programme, is being funded by the Environment Agency and the Severn
Rivers Trust. The Banister Charitable
Trust has also provided an additional
A fish that has been dye marked.
£9,000. The project sees Environment
Agency fisheries officers using different coloured dye markings on fish for
different stretches of the river above
Anglers are being asked to record
catching fish with their dye colour, so
data can be compiled by the Environment Agency showing where fish are
migrating to on the river. Local
angling clubs have been given LED
flashlights to help with the identification process.
In addition, to improve water quality and geomorphology, new fencing
and stiles are being put up along
parts of the river to prevent cattle
entering the water, 1,000 trees are
being planted along embankments,
and there are plans for removing a
Environment Agency Fisheries
Officer, Darin Alberry, who is leading
the project, said:
We’ve responded to concerns of
anglers about declining fish stocks
and plan to run this project over a few
years so that we’ve got really good
data to monitor fish populations.
The project will help anglers to
increase their knowledge of fish populations in the river and just how far
up and downstream they migrate. n
Fisheries officers on fish dye marking
project, River Alne.
Close season retained following public consultation
The Environment Agency has
decided to retain the current coarse
fishing close season on English rivers.
The decision follows a detailed
review of the evidence and responses
provided to a public consultation,
which indicate that removing the
close season would pose a risk to
coarse fish in some locations. The
close season for coarse fishing on
rivers was introduced in 1878 and is
in force from 15 March to 15 June. It
aims to reduce risks to spawning fish
caused by angling. The review also
showed that amending the start and
end dates of the close season would
increase protection for some fish that
spawn later but would increase risks
for those that spawn early.
Support among anglers for retaining a close season and removing it is
finely balanced. The eight-week public consultation received 13,680
responses with 38.8% of anglers supporting retaining the current close
season; 9.2% supporting retaining a
close season, but changing the dates
to 15 April to 30 June; and 49.8% sup-
porting removing the close season
altogether. 2.2% were undecided or
didn’t respond.
The responders were invited to
provide evidence to support their
view, and the Environment Agency
has assessed that evidence, alongside
other considerations, and determined
that there is not a case for changing
the current close season.
In addition to the evidence supplied through the consultation, the
experience of the Environment
Agency’s own fish farm at Calverton
has shown that some species, notably
chub and barbel, form large spawning
aggregations that can be very sensitive to disturbance. Where disturbed,
spawning females may reabsorb their
eggs and defer spawning to the following season rather than spawning
elsewhere or later.
Kevin Austin, Deputy Director of
Fisheries at the Environment Agency
said: “We are really grateful to the
people who took the time to respond
to the consultation. We have analysed
the many comments from the 13,680
responses to understand the evidence and opinions around the close
season. Given the limited further evidence on risks to coarse and other
fish stocks, we have decided to retain
the close season.
“We would also like to thank the
joint Angling Trust/Institute of Fisheries Management study group for its
work to collate, analyse and interpret
the available evidence on the close
season. This enabled an informed
public debate. While the group concluded a more risk-based approach
may be possible, our priority is to find
the right balance between angling
and protecting fish stocks.
“The current close season is riskbased and maintains protection for
the majority of coarse fish. We recognise that some anglers will be disappointed in this outcome, while others
will welcome it. This reflects a shared
passion for fishing. We will continue,
working with partners, to consider
any new information on the close season as and when it becomes available.” n


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