Scores of keen anglers from across Shropshire took part in an exciting fish scale sampling event on Sunday 1 June.
The free event in Bridgnorth, hosted by the Environment Agency, and supported by a range of partners, provided an opportunity for visitors to learn about how to safely collect fish scales. Complimentary scale sampling kits were also handed out.
Brecht Morris, an Environment Agency Fisheries & Biodiversity Technical Officer and avid fisherman, led the practical demonstration at Kinver Freeliners’ Woodland & Lodge Park Pools.
Mr Morris, said:
It was great to see so many people come along and experience the training. This shows that there is an appetite for such sessions and I was pleased to help, thanks to our partners for their support.
The sampling opportunity was part of an ongoing ground-breaking project which involves predator anglers studying pike and zander on the Rivers Severn, Warwickshire Avon and Wye.
The research team intend to first collate scale samples, which will help provide a baseline of data establishing average annual growth rates, for future comparison. Later, it is hoped that the project will extend to include data on fish movements.
Other partners involved in the project include The Angling Trust, Severn Rivers Trust, Pike Anglers’ Club, Zander Anglers’ Club, Lure Anglers’ Society and the Canal & River Trust.
Dilip Sarkar MBE, Fisheries Enforcement Manager, the Angling Trust said:
The Severn Basin Predator Study provides an unprecedented opportunity not only for research into predatory fish species, but equally for the Environment Agency, Angling Trust, Lure Anglers’ Society and Severn Rivers Trust to engage with predator anglers. We are delighted to have the support of both the Pike Anglers’ Club and Zander Anglers’ Club in this endeavour, in addition to individual predator specialists. This will hopefully, therefore, herald a whole new era of interaction and understanding for all involved – whilst promoting a better appreciation and furthering our knowledge of the species involved.
John Ellis, National Fisheries and Angling Manager at the Canal and River Trust said:
Fish are the best indicator when trying to find out the health of an ecosystem on a canal or river and by analysing fish scales we can work out just how quickly the fish are growing.
Removing scales is completely harmless and doesn’t cause any distress to the fish. Once caught, the fish will be measured, weighed and then released allowing them to carry on exploring the nation’s waterways.