Fisheries experts will be stocking 6,000 barbel at several locations in Yorkshire this week as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing plans to develop and restore rivers in the region.
All reared at the Environment Agency’s fish farm, 3,000 barbel will be stocked into the River Dearne at five locations between Barnsley and Adwick-upon-Dearne and 3,000 barbel will be stocked into the River Aire at six locations between Kildwick and Thwaites Mill.
These rivers have suffered from poor water quality and habitat loss in the past, but a concerted effort by Yorkshire Water, industry and the Environment Agency has helped turn these watercourses around.
This will be the first time the Environment Agency has stocked barbel on the River Dearne for 10 years and, along with habitat improvement works with partners such as the Don Catchment Rivers Trust, it hopes this will provide the building blocks for a sustainable population in the river.
The Environment Agency is restoring fish passage upon the River Dearne, a tributary of the River Don, and has recently completed a fish and eel pass at a weir at Adwick.
Helping rivers to recover
This will be the last time that the Environment Agency stocks barbel into the River Aire following a stocking programme over recent years. The river will be closely monitored in the future as fish are allowed to spawn naturally.
Fisheries officer Pete Turner said: “We target fish stocking activity using data from our fish surveys and information provided by the angling community to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.
“Restoration and the creation of new fisheries for everyone to enjoy is a very important aspect to our work.”
The fish all come from the Environment Agency’s fish farm at Calverton, in Nottinghamshire, where between 350,000 and 500,000 fish are produced to stock rivers across the country each year.