Monday, 28 February 2011

EA probes Broads pike decline

We're working closely with the pike angling community to see whether pike are in dcline and if so, what's causing it.

That was the message from the Environment Agency today, as officials revealed they could not explain what had caused the death of several large pike at Oulton Broad, Suffolk - including a fish well over 30lbs.

Fisheries officers recovered the bodies of three pike from the northern area of the Broad earlier this month.

Steve Lane, Fisheries Technical Specialist at the Environment Agency said: “We are working closely with the Broads Angling Strategy Group (BASG) to assess the current status of the pike population and examine a range of factors that may be adversely affecting the fishery.”

“We are looking at a range of potential projects to help us gain more information on the pike population. In particular we are considering an innovative pike tagging project which will enable anglers fishing the Broads to help in the study of stock levels by directly reporting catch information to us.”

Following on from a hugely successful Broadland Pike Conference in August 2010, the BASG’s Pike Sub Group is helping to advise the Agency on pike fishery issues.

The Group’s chairman and Regional Pike Angler’s Club of Great Britain officer John Currie said: “Whilst there currently is no evidence to establish the cause of death of these fish, I would urge all anglers to help us protect pike stocks by ensuring they use the correct handling techniques and proper equipment at all times when pike fishing.

“Large pike in particular are very fragile and need to be handled very carefully. Many of the popular fishing banks around Oulton Broad are concrete or tarmac and in these situations, a good quality unhooking mat is an essential piece of equipment”.

Anglers are urged to report signs of dead fish, fish in distress, pollution or suspected illegal activities by phoning the Environment Agency 24hour hotline number 0800 80 70 60 as soon as possible.

+++more on story here.

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