Environment Agency fisheries staff will be introducing 500 barbel into the River Don at Blackburn Meadows in Sheffield and a further 500 into the river at Kilnhurst on Thursday 17 November. In addition to this 3,000 barbel will also be introduced into the River Aire at various locations near Keighley, Bradford and Leeds.
All of the fish originated from the EA’s fish farm at Calverton and are being introduced as part of an ongoing restocking programme to boost recovering populations in rivers where water quality is improving.
“The fish we’re stocking later this week will be the last we put into the River Don.” said fisheries officer Peter Mischenko. “We started the stocking programme around ten years ago to help the river recover from its industrial heritage which had a massive impact on fish stocks. Our fish surveys tell us that stocks are now at a sustainable level, with the population breeding well, so there is no need for us to continue to supplement it with additional fish. We will continue our other work, including managing obstructions such as weirs to ease the passage of fish, so our rivers can continue to improve for all users of our watercourses.”
The barbel have been marked so they will be easy to identify if caught by anglers or during the annual fish surveys. This will allow fisheries officers carrying out later river surveys to successfully monitor the populations.
The EA claim that region’s rivers are the healthiest that they have been for 20 years and the restocking programme is part of the ongoing campaign to bring further improvements.