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14,000 new aquatic residents for Staffordshire rivers

Written By: Lyn Fraley
On Date: 17/11/2007

Staffordshire gained another 14,000 new residents this week when the Environment Agency released thousands more baby fish into Staffordshire rivers. On Tuesday, 13 November 2007, Fisheries Officers found new homes for 2,000 of these fish. A thousand of them, all chub or dace, were released into the River Churnet. This follows the release of ten thousand young salmon into the Churnet only last month.

In the 19th century, the Churnet was possibly the worst polluted river in Europe and fish populations declined as a result of the industrial pollution. Recent improvements in water quality have now made it possible for fish to live in the river once again.

On Tuesday, we also re-stocked the River Sow with a further five hundred baby barbel, and five hundred rudd were released into Lady Corner Junior Pool, Bentilee, Stoke upon Trent. This pool is in the process of being developed for training young & disabled anglers in the skills of angling. It is owned by Stoke upon Trent City Council and managed by The Potteries Angling Society.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week it was the turn of the River Trent, where Fisheries Officers have re-homed a further 12,000 baby fish. Five and half thousand barbel, dace and roach were released into the river at Stone, 5,000 barbel, dace and roach were released at Weston and a further 1,500 barbel and dace at Wolseley Bridge.

The young fish were all born and raised at the Environment Agency’s Calverton Fish Farm in Nottingham.

Fisheries Officer, Mick Buxton, says: “After years of industrial pollution, Staffordshire’s rivers are once more teeming with life. The Churnet, for example, was once little more than an open sewer. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Environment Agency and local businesses, it is a beautiful river once more.

“Targeted releases of young fish, such as the chub, dace and barbel which found new homes in the Sow, Churnet and Trent this week, help to make sure that fish populations continue to thrive. The breeding and release of these fish is funded by anglers through rod licence money. The more anglers buy rod licences, the more work we can do.

But good water quality is vital to the survival of these young fish. We urge people to help them thrive by taking care to ensure that the rivers do not become polluted. Everyone has a part to play in securing their future by making sure the river stays clean and reporting any instances of pollution to us immediately.”

Pollution happens when substances such as oil and chemicals, or organic matter such as agricultural waste or milk, enter the river through surface water drains, which are designed to collect only rainwater. Sometimes, washing machines, showers or toilets can also be connected inadvertently to the surface water system, leading to pollution incidents. Environment management officers regularly sample the river to ensure that water quality remains good. We may prosecute anyone who illegally discharges waste into a watercourse.

Local people, especially those who use the river for recreation, can help by reporting any pollution to us immediately on our free 24hr Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
MORE INFORMATION Contact Lyn Fraley on 0121 711 5829/5855
(these numbers can also be used during an emergency to contact a duty press officer)
Rod licences Money from the sale of rod licences helps to fund the Environment Agency’s work managing fisheries including projects, such as this one, which help to improve angling for the future.
Anyone aged 12 years or over who fishes for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England and Wales is required by law to have an Environment Agency Rod Fishing Licence. Rod licences differ from permits (often referred to as tickets or day tickets) which give permission to fish a particular water or waters and are issued by fishery owners.


The onus in law is for the angler to prove he was licenced to fish at the time of the incident. If he fails to do so, he is liable to be convicted for the offence of fishing with an unlicensed instrument.

A rod licence entitles you to fish with up to two rods and line at the same time for coarse fish and eels, but with only one rod and line for trout, sea trout, char and salmon. Always check club rules and local byelaws regarding the rod limit on the water you intend to fish. Additional licences are required if you fish with more rods, where byelaws and rules permit.

You can buy Full, Junior, 8-day and 1-day licences from our website www.environment-agency.gov.uk. You can also buy a rod licence from any Post Office in England and Wales, or on our telephone sales line: 0870 1662 662. From March to October the telephone line is open 8 am - 8pm every day, and sells all licence types.
If you are caught fishing without one, you are cheating other anglers and could be fined up to £2,500.

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