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Britain’s Rarest Freshwater Fish Reappears in Bassenthwaite

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Britain’s rarest freshwater fish, the Vendace, has made an unexpected reappearance in Bassenthwaite Britain’s rarest freshwater fish, the Vendace, has made an unexpected reappearance in Bassenthwaite

Britain’s rarest freshwater fish, the Vendace, has made an unexpected reappearance in Bassenthwaite Lake in north-West England more than a decade after being declared ‘locally extinct’.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

 


A fish community survey of Bassenthwaite Lake which took place this autumn recorded a single young vendace specimen. The small size of the fish, only 54 mm in length, makes it likely to be an underyearling which hatched during the spring of this year.


Dr Ian Winfield from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology led this autumn’s survey and commented:

 “This finding of a single vendace individual is a very pleasant surprise and gives great encouragement to everyone involved in the restoration of Bassenthwaite Lake and its fantastic wildlife.”


Vendace is the UK’s rarest freshwater fish and a relic of the last ice age, with only four native populations ever having been recorded at two lochs in SW Scotland and Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water in north-west England. The populations in Scotland became locally extinct many decades ago, probably as a result of local nutrient enrichment, and vendace were last recorded in Bassenthwaite Lake in 2001. Until recently it was believed that only the Derwent Water remained along with a refuge population in Loch Skene in south-west Scotland, which was established using eggs from Bassenthwaite Lake in the early 2000s.


Dr Winfield and the scientific team have put forward three possible origins for the fish found this autumn. First, it is possible that vendace have actually survived in Bassenthwaite Lake for the last 12 years at very low abundance (below the limit of detection) and may now be increasing in abundance. Second, it is possible that the fish has arrived in Bassenthwaite Lake by moving down the River Derwent from the population in Derwent Water. Third, it is possible that such downstream movement happened some time ago and the individual is the locally-spawned offspring of such colonisers.


The fish community of Bassenthwaite Lake has been monitored by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology since 1995 in a collaborative project with the Environment Agency. Each year, the abundance and composition of the fish community is assessed using state-of-the-art hydroacoustics (echo sounding) combined with limited netting.


Dr Winfield added:

“Continued monitoring of the fish community of Bassenthwaite Lake will help us to understand what has happened and to inform appropriate conservation actions.”







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Comments (18 posted):

jasonbean1 on 24/10/2013 07:20:42
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now that really would be a campaign to catch one
Paul Boote on 24/10/2013 08:03:40
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Dear Sage, Loomis, Loop, Hardy, Shimano, Preston, Drennan etc etc etc (delete whichever is not applicable to you) I am looking to become a Vendace Hero and will soon be launching a gruelling 10 Year Campaign to catch one of these finny Monsters. Sponsor me, PLEASE.... I'll be a good boy ... say anything and write anything, anywhere and everywhere, particularly to camera, that you want me to about your astonishing tackle.... Yours in anticipation, A. Mugge
jackperks on 26/10/2013 17:58:27
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Dear Sage, Loomis, Loop, Hardy, Shimano, Preston, Drennan etc etc etc (delete whichever is not applicable to you) I am looking to become a Vendace Hero and will soon be launching a gruelling 10 Year Campaign to catch one of these finny Monsters. Sponsor me, PLEASE.... I'll be a good boy ... say anything and write anything, anywhere and everywhere, particularly to camera, that you want me to about your astonishing tackle.... Yours in anticipation, A. Mugge considering these fish are protected i'd advise against catching one by design as you'll get hit by a £5,000 fine!
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 20:10:37
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Vendace Heroes are beyond Rules, Regs and the Law; in fact, we poo on them. So there!
binka on 26/10/2013 20:23:06
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considering these fish are protected i'd advise against catching one by design as you'll get hit by a £5,000 fine! Assuming some regulatory authority was sat in a bush just waiting for such an occurrence... or the captor was daft enough to publicise it. How did everyone get on then... ? :D (Insert Vendace in landing net image here with pair of forceps for scale). :eek: :D
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 20:27:38
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Join the Vendace Trust. "We won't stop until fishing for them is banned entirely, we've taken the money and ran for the hills and they're dead."
binka on 26/10/2013 20:29:39
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Join the Vendace Trust. "We won't stop until fishing for them is banned entirely, we've taken the money and ran for the hills and they're dead." Can I pay by debit debit at no extra cost? :D
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 20:31:08
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Blank uncrossed Postal Orders and Cash only at the moment, I regret.
binka on 26/10/2013 20:32:40
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Blank uncrossed Postal Orders and Cash only at the moment, I regret. Is that why it's a "Trust"? :D
cg74 on 26/10/2013 20:33:42
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Assuming some regulatory authority was sat in a bush just waiting for such an occurrence... or the captor was daft enough to publicise it. How did everyone get on then... ? :D (Insert Vendace in landing net image here with pair of forceps for scale). :eek: :D You say that but didn't Bob James try to claim he was targeting the similarly protected Twaite Shad when he got caught fishing during the close season.
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 20:34:20
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Exactly. We are the people your parents warned you about. "Trust in Us"
binka on 26/10/2013 20:45:20
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You say that but didn't Bob James try to claim he was targeting the similarly protected schelly when he got caught fishing during the close season. You do know how to ask 'em don't you? Yeah but wasn't that on the Wye, not Bassenthwaite? Did Bob's captors hide behind a bush awaiting the occurrence?
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 20:54:02
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Vendace Trust Press Release Paul Boote has just done us the great honour of becoming our Patron. We are now confident about doing to Vendace what others did to South Indian Mahseer. Welcome on board, Paul. Respect.
cg74 on 26/10/2013 20:57:32
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You do know how to ask 'em don't you? Yeah but wasn't that on the Wye, not Bassenthwaite? Did Bob's captors hide behind a bush awaiting the occurrence? Ah but there are plenty of folk hiding behind the bushes around Bassenthwaite lake trying to get a glimpse of an Osprey.;):D
binka on 26/10/2013 21:00:33
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Ah but there are plenty of folk hiding behind the bushes around Bassenthwaite lake trying to get a glimpse of an Osprey.;):D I have no knowledge of such shady goings on ;) :D :w Talking of bushes... No, doesn't matter :D
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 21:02:37
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Vendace Trust Press Release Re: Predators, Birdwatchers, Naturalists, Walkers and Non-Anglers These will be terminated with extreme prejudice in Our interests and those of the fish.
binka on 26/10/2013 21:09:59
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Vendace Trust Press Release Re: Predators, Birdwatchers, Naturalists, Walkers and Non-Anglers These will be terminated with extreme prejudice in Our interests and those of the fish. Got my vote. Naturalists? Dirty buggers... don't want them skinny dipping and spreading bacteria that a decent pair of Speedos would otherwise conceal :eek: :D
Paul Boote on 26/10/2013 21:26:44
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We will also be launching a series of Vendace Trust Fish-outs and The Thirty Years Online War in due course, as they have been so popular with other Trusts. Paul tell us that he only had to post about trout, both resident wild ones and the sea-going sort, at one time and entire websites melted down. Which can only be good for Our Vendace.


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