River Stour stocked with barbel
A BID to make an East Anglian river one of the best in the region for barbel fish has been boosted by 2,500 colourful arrivals.For the second year running, two-year-old species measuring up to eight inches and each weighing just under a quarter of a pound have been introduced to the River Stour.
A BID to make an East Anglian river one of the best in the region for barbel fish has been boosted by 2,500 colourful arrivals.
For the second year running, two-year-old species measuring up to eight inches and each weighing just under a quarter of a pound have been introduced to the River Stour.
Within a decade they could reach up to 17lbs, making the river the finest barbel fishery in the Essex and Suffolk division of the Environment Agency.
The new arrivals, placed in five sections of the river, were all anaesthetised before being individually injected with different coloured elastomer dyes in their fins, in order that they can be monitored.
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A year ago the first batch of 3,600 fish were introduced, but dyes were injected into their cheeks.
Agency ecological fisheries officer Kirk Markham said the soft areas of the cheek had not turned out to be totally successful and, in 50% of cases, the dye had disappeared, but he was sure injecting into the harder area of a fin would work.
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"The technology has been used successfully in America. With the assistance of an ultra violet light, the dyes will still show up very brightly after ten years."
Mr Markham said the latest stocking programme was part of a £28,000-plus exercise this year to ipgrade the habitat of the river forming the border of Suffolk and Essex.
Life for fish, birds and species such as water vole would be improved. Work would include the rehabilitation of gravel beds to enhance spawning and fry habitat for Barbel and other species.
"Historically, it is believed barbel were present in the river, but numbers had reached a low level, probably due to modifications to the river and loss of suitable habitat. The river is the only one in our region with the potential for this sort of experiment, and agency aims to make the population sustainable with a phased stocking programme," he added.
"It would be a first for a river in the Essex and Suffolk area, although the Waveney in Norfolk has a good barbel population, and there are a few others in the rest of the country. Local anglers very much welcome the initiative. Barbel is a compatible breed to other fish in the Stour, and we believe some of the stock added last year have already reached 3 lbs."
The initial stocking last year was carried out between Stoke-by-Clare and Boxted, and the latest exercise relates to fisheries at Brundon Mill and Mill Meadow, Sudbury; Pitmire, Cornard; lakes at Bures and the river near the Anchor pub at Nayland.