Loddon Consultative January 2009
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Fish Surveys, Barbel Projects & The Angling Trust.
Loddon Fisheries & Conservation Consultative Presents Study Results.
The Angling Trust, a body set up to represent angling at government level is now complete. The organisation now encompasses all of the former smaller fishing groups such as the ACA, NAFAC, NFA amongst others, which have now been disolved into the one group. The web site http://www.anglingtrust.net is well worth a visit and should provide news and information across the world of fishing. There will be a link on the appropiate page of the SFC website for future reference. Swallowfield Fishing club will be joining the Angling Trust in the near future to take advantage of the services and offers and to give our support to this worthwhile venture. We would also encourage our members to join the Angling Trust on an individual basis if they so wish. Remember, the more members this trust has, the stronger its voice will be on issues that matter.
SFC will still continue to be a part of the Loddon Fisheries & Conservation Consultative to look at issues surrouning the more local areas in the Loddon & Blackwater catchment. The LFCC will report to the Thames Consultative, the main body for this region who in turn report to that Angling Trust.
The first presentation given on the first LFCC meeting of 2009 involved the findings of the fish surveys carried out on the Loddon, Blackwater and Whitewater rivers. These surveys take place at the same time each year where possible using the same stretch of river and the same techniques to provide a consistant set of data that can be analysed. The species of fish, length of fish and scale samples are collected on each survey, with the scales being analysed to determine fish age and year class. The fish density and biomass can then be calculated to these given areas on the rivers. One site at Sheepbridge Mill on the River Loddon showed a large amount of young Barbel indicating a good spawning area, with other areas downstream at Aborfield and Twyord showing groups of larger fish. This is not an indication that large fish are not present in all of the stretches of the rivers though. The overall results showed that the overall fish populations are above average for the Thames Region and that no discernable trends can be seen from the data to date. The next survey is scheduled for April 2009.
The second presentation showed the work done on the Upper Thames Barbel project which looked into the decline of Barbel in the Upper Thames and its tributaries. Various data had been collected through angling clubs catch results, some of which dated back to the late 1970s, site visits, river work records etc. All of this information eventually leading to areas requirering restoration, rehabilitation or enhancement to encourage Barbel to stay and recruit after stocking. Some of the work involved enhancing or even reconnecting backwaters for juvenille fish, creating spawning areas by making gravel beds containing aggregate of certain sizes to specific depths. The information and knowledge gained from projects such as this can only serve to help, improve and enhance the rivers within the Loddon catchment and keep the already present fish, breeding and living in a well balanced environment.