New project aims to prevent fish dying of stress
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The Environment Agency (EA) is beaming live temperature data to a screen at a Wroxham angling shop to protect pike stocks during the hot weather.
Staff at Angling Direct then use the information, which comes from a water quality device in the Broads to help advise customers on safe periods to fish for pike in the Broads, and alternatives.
The information could become available online, with a view to expanding coverage if the trial is successful.
Phil Gray, Angling Direct's Wroxham store manager, said: "We now have the visual tool to advise our customers of the risks involved in warm weather piking.
"We see a huge amount of holiday anglers fishing for pike in the summer and want to help create a more sustainable fishery by advising customers of other species that provide superb sport throughout the summer."
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The innovative pilot project is a partnership between the EA, the Broads Angling Services Group (BASG), the Pike Anglers Club (PAC) and Angling Direct.
Meanwhile, EA posters highlighting the risks associated with warm water fishing for pike are being displayed in local tackle shops.
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Prolonged hot weather can cause problems in rivers, lakes and drains such as low oxygen levels, low river flows, elevated water temperatures and algal blooms, which in turn can lead to increased levels of stress on fish populations and even fish deaths in extreme conditions.
Anglers should not fish for pike when water temperatures in the Broads are at or above 21C.
Steve Lane, fisheries technical specialist at the EA in East Anglia, said: "The shallow waters of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads can be surprisingly warm in the summer months, which can lead to problems for pike, an iconic and popular predatory fish.
"Coupled with an increase in fishing pressure associated with large numbers of holiday-makers visiting the area to go fishing, this means Broads pike are often under increased pressure in summer months.
"We're asking anglers to return fish to the water as quickly as possible and avoid using keepnets if practical to do so, particularly on lakes, the Broads and rivers with low flows."