Deadly toxins at Hickling Broad dispersing

The Prymnesium Parvum outbreak on Hickling Broad where deadly toxins along with low dissolved oxygen levels in the water killed several hundred fish and threatened thousands more appears to be on the wane.

In a press release last week the Environment Agency (EA) accepted that a Prymnesium bloom had created low toxic levels in the Broad prompting fish to move away and congregate in large numbers in enclosed areas of water.

This resulted in serious depletion of oxygen, putting additional stress on the fish and had the potential to lead to more deaths.

The EA press officer, continued: 'It is clear that the fish removal completed at the beginning of April was successful with none of the reallocated fish dying subsequently.'

The EA then undertook a specialist acoustic camera survey on April 18 which confirmed a significant number of fish had dispersed from Catfield Staithe along the length of Catfield Dyke and that only a very limited number of fish were observed on the bed of other dykes and main Broad during the survey. To date no further dead or distressed fish have been reported to the EA.

The EA will continue to monitor for Prymesium on at least a fortnightly basis and water quality tests from recent samples will indicate if there are any other problems.

The Broads Authority's work on the island at Duck Broad is complete and any further dredging is postponed until the winter.

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The EA emphasised that the work completed at Heigham Sounds was fully permitted and in accordance with planning conditions.

The report concluded 'From the data available its not possible to ascertain what contributed to or exacerbated the effect of the Prymnesium bloom on the fish and it is a joint decision between the BA, EA and Natural England to complete the dredging works in the winter'

For the record the EA is responsible for maintaining, improving and developing fisheries and fishery bylaw enforcement.

Under the act of parliament the BA has a statutory duty to enforce navigation bylaws and maintain acceptable depths in the navigation channels.

Natural England is the general public's watchdog answerable to DEFRA and charged with protecting endangered species and sites of special scientific interest under the Wildlife and Countryside Acts.

At the annual get together of the Norwich and Districts Anglers Committee, representatives of the fishing tackle trade, the farming industry, fishery officers past and presents and the angling press chairman Tony Gibbons declared everyone present at the function had contributed towards the Broads success story

He said: 'We've had various troubles like Prymnesium but I can say that the natural rivers we fish have never been in better condition with fish stocks thriving. That's good for us and the tourist industry that contributes huge sums to our local economy.'

However now the close season is in force and the exempted commercial fisheries the main attraction with returns well into treble figures, anglers can fish on.

Phil Creasy won the police outing at Hilgay with 184lb 9oz, Matt Wiles weighed in a winning 174lb 2oz at the Attleborough Match Group at Colton and Jonathan Read headed the Zenith card with 108lbs 11ozs at Barford.

The Suffolk Teams of Five League got underway at Hinderclay where Glen Hubbard netted a winning 72lb 8oz to boost his squad Diawa Angling Direct Black to top spot with 16 penalty points.

On the carp venues, Taswood was tops for specimens with Geoff Greenaway, of Hempnall, lifting out a common of 35lb 9oz, a mirror of 30lb 1oz and three others in the 20s.

Dan Warhurst, of Norwich, bagged a mirror at 32lb 14oz and Danny Thompson, of Thorpe, beat a common of 30lb 10oz.

Other specimens in the 20-30lb range fell to permit holders Oliver Robinson, Kevin Smith, Ben Rooke, Matt Ireland, Mike Plane, Ashley Myhill, Mike Gibbs and Ryan Stevens.

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