King’s Lynn Angling Association set to transfer fish from drought-hit Tottenhill Pit to Shepherd’s Port
King's Lynn Angling Association is set to transfer fish from Tottenhill to its Shepherd's Port complex, as water levels in the pit reach crisis levels.
With an average depth of barely 2ft, officials fear a major fish kill if the drought continues as predicted.
As farmers are being warned to cap abstraction from rivers and drains across the Fens, the scale of the dry spell can be seen graphically at Tottenhill, where receding water levels have left fishing platforms and marginal vegetation high and dry.
KLAA chairman Kelvin Allen said: 'We have consulted with many experts in what is happening with the water, where the feedback is that we are unable to sustain any water as the lake is directly linked to the surrounding water table.
'For us who have visited Tottenhill recently, you will have noticed the extreme loss of water. Something that has been a trend over the last two years, but over recent months has reflected even more on the drought we are suffering in the Fenland area.
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'The KLAA committee has spent many hours discussing our options, with the prime objective being the protection of the key asset, the fish. We have regretfully decided we have little choice but to crop the larger fish and transfer them to our Shepherds Port complex.'
Allen said there were question marks over the future of the water, without the extra foot of water needed to protect the lake through the summer of 2012.
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'We feel that given the current water levels, we need to further understand what water levels can be sustained, to provide a habitat that will support the size of fish it does today,' he said.
Arrangements are under way to remove many of the carp, bream and tench which provide the mainstay of sport in the popular mixed fishery.
Allen said Lynn AA would be reducing the price of bronze membership tickets for the coming season, until the club has a clearer picture regarding the future sustainability of Tottenhill.
'This is not something we wanted given our major investment in the venue during 2009, but hope you understand why we have little choice other than to protect our assets, before these become unsustainable in the coming months,' he said.
While there have been concerns over water levels for several summers, enough rain has fallen to replenish them.
Insiders say the latest development is a blow to a club which has invested to create a pleasant, accessible mixed fishery for all ages and abilities.
Yet we are clearly now in uncharted territory, with farmers already facing a ban on abstracting water from the River Wissey over drought concerns, and other rivers suffering record low flows and levels.