RACG Statement

With record air temperatures predicted across Europe and for some parts of the UK, it’s important to remember the potential effects of elevated temperatures on fish and fisheries. Increasing temperatures influence fish in a variety of ways, by elevating metabolisms and rates of feeding through to altering the timing and duration of spawning activities. However, where high water temperatures or rapid increases in temperature are observed, fish can be detrimentally affected. For example, fish may experience metabolic stress, feed less and/or be at increased risk of disease – all of which can have implications for a fish’s health and potentially, survival. At the fisheries or ecosystem level, a primary concern is the impact of elevated temperatures on dissolved oxygen concentrations. Fish and other organisms require oxygen to breath and there is an inverse relationship between air temperature and the amount of oxygen water can hold. That is, as temperatures increase, the amount of oxygen water can hold decreases. Therefore, as water temperatures rise due to high air temperatures, the amount of oxygen available to living aquatic organisms decreases. If we couple low oxygen availability with the symptoms of elevated temperatures on fish, including increased metabolic stress etc., then we begin to realise we as anglers need to do all we can to help reduce the pressures of hot weather on fish and fisheries. This can be achieved in a variety of ways. First, look for signs of fish in distress and act accordingly. This may involve reporting sightings to the fishery manager or where appropriate, report or seek advice from your local Environment Agency Fisheries officer. Second, fish responsibly and avoid fishing for sensitive species including salmonids, Pike and Barbel. Night and early morning fishing should also be avoided as this is when oxygen levels are at their lowest due to plant respiration at night. Third, look out for further updates from the RACG and other organisations, including the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust, and use these to inform management of your fisheries.

We understand, that at the moment, some of our rivers may be carrying some extra water and therefore the Dissolved Oxygen levels will be good. Things may well change as the summer progresses though, so we would prefer to get this information out to the public sooner rather than later.
All of us at the RACG hope that this information will be of interest and use to you all.
We wish you a fish filled 19/20 season.

Happy Angling, Matt Marlow.

RACG Chairman