Conservation efforts to save rare fish

The Crucian Carp.

The Crucian Carp. - Credit: submitted

Plans to establish a thriving population of rare fish in the county are a step closer.

Members of Kelling Heath Holiday Park's countryside team, working with aquatics experts at University College London's Pond Restoration Research Group, have released 50 crucian carp into a pond at the park.

Kelling's operations manager, Mark Durrant, hopes the park's latest residents will thrive in their new surroundings so that Kelling is recognised as a sanctuary for a species that until recently was considered to be in danger of extinction.

It is part of UCL's Norfolk Crucian Carp Project.

Mr Durrant said: 'We have had crucian carp in the ponds in the past, but over the years they have died out. The conditions now seem right for them to make a comeback, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that they thrive in their new surroundings and establish a much-needed base in the area.

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'We're very fortunate to live and work in such a beautiful part of the country here in north Norfolk, so we do all we can to work in a sustainable way with our surroundings.

'The chance to help develop a rare species is not an opportunity that comes along every day, so we're very happy to be involved.'

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The carp have been released into Kelling's Upper Pond, where their progress will be monitored by the UCL team over the next 12 months.

More fish are then due to be released into the pond over the next two years, with a number being introduced into Kelling's Lower Pond if the project proves successful.

Both ponds are of high conservation interest with the Upper Pond supporting rare aquatic flora, including wholed water-milfoil, lesser marshwort, cowbane and greater water-parsnip.

The crucian carp's usual habitat includes lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers but Norfolk's crucian carp population has plummeted by 75pc since the 1970s, with overgrown ponds and predatory fish thought to be the main causes of their decline.

Do you know of a conservation project in north Norfolk? Email

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