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Up go the numbers!
8th July 2019

By Sandra Pearce

Around 34,000 fish have been released into the River Witham by the Environment Agency as part of ongoing efforts to help the river recover from the devastating pollution it suffered last Spring.

The year-old roach and bream, measuring 5-10cm long, were bred at the EA’s national coarse fish farm before being transported and released into the river by fisheries officers.

It brings the total of fish stocked back into the Witham in the last year to around 74,000, plus approximately 1.5m larvae. Releasing high numbers of fish increases the chances that their populations will re-establish, as some will die naturally or be eaten by predators.

The restocking will help restore the river to its natural, healthy state following a devastating pollution last March, when ammonia badly affected the river and its ecosystems from Bardney to the Wash. The incident is thought to be the worst river pollution ever recorded in the county.

Darren Randall, fisheries officer at the Environment Agency, said: “A river can take years or even decades to recover from such a serious pollution incident – but we’re doing everything we can to help return it to its former glory as soon as possible.

“Reintroducing these fish will help restore the complex ecosystems and the natural balance of this precious river, although it will be a long process.”