Joint initiative with the Environment Agency

The Canal Trust has been concerned for sometime at the declining level of fish stock in the Canal. Local fishing clubs and individuals have also commented to the Trust about this issue. The Trust approached the Environment Agency for help. Their advice has been that the possible causes may due to poaching, natural predators and potentially a slow silting up of the Canal in some areas.

Now, through a joint initiative by the Environment Agency and the Canal Trust, measures are being taken to stop the decline.

A restocking was undertaken on Wednesday 2 December. About 2600 young common bream and 600 tench were added to the Canal by the Environment Agency at no cost to the Canal Trust. The fish all came from the Agency’s fish farm at Calverton, Nottinghamshire, where between 350,000 and 500,000 fish are produced each year to stock rivers and still waters across the country.

Regular patrols are being undertaken by Environment Agency and Ship Canal Trust officers to ensure that national fishing rules are being followed. Anyone fishing must have an Environment Agency Rod Licence as well as a Canal Trust Permit. Fines of up to £2,500 can be imposed for not having a Rod Licence. New signs are to be erected to draw attention to these requirements.

Mike Bushell, Chairman of the Ship Canal Trust, said, “We value the help and co-operation that we have had from our Environment Agency Fisheries and Biodiversity colleagues. As volunteers, we appreciate the knowledge and help that they have been able to give us in addressing the need to stop the decline in our fish stock, which will be regularly monitored”.

Damon Block from Fisheries & Bio-Diversity at the Environment Agency said “We are pleased that we can provide these fish for stocking as part of our commitment to rod-licence paying anglers. It is hoped this boost to stocks will encourage more local people to enjoy this fantastic local amenity on their doorstep. Money raised from sales of rod licences is invested in a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers, manage predation, protect stocks from illegal fishing, restock fish, eradicate invasive species, improve habitats and work with partners to encourage people to take up fishing for the first time”.

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