The Environment Agency has introduced 3,000 young barbel into to the River Dearne as part of an ongoing project to restore the river’s fish populations.
The juvenile barbel, a bottom-feeding species of fish, were put in groups of 600 in sites at Adwick, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Darfield, Cundy Cross and Barugh Bridge.
This is the third year of a six-year stocking programme. Anglers told the Environment Agency that barbel had been proving more elusive to catch on the river and official surveys confirmed that young fish were few and far between.
Fisheries officer Jerome Masters said:
Hundreds of barbel were released into the River Dearne back in 1999 and 2002 but we never saw large numbers of young being produced in the river. Water quality has continued to improve since then, and ongoing habitat improvements combined with fish passes mean that the River Dearne is a far better place for barbel than it was back then. This is why the time is right to give this species another helping hand.
Barbel are very popular with anglers and are renowned for their fighting prowess once hooked. Adults can reach up to 20lb in weight.
The Environment Agency releases fish into our waterways annually. Fisheries officers target fish stocking activity using data from local fish surveys to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.
The fish have been supplied by the Environment Agency’s fish farm in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, and their introduction has been funded by the rod licence money that anglers pay annually.