Tagged with: Fish

Posts (10)

  1. The 1960s and 1970s was the golden age of salmon fishing on the River Wye when 'monster' salmon were regularly caught weighing in excess of 30lbs and measuring over 4ft long. During the late 1980s up to 6,000 salmon were being caught each year but by 2002, this number had nose-dived to just 357, but early signs in March indicate that the larger fish are slowly returning. A local fisherman with a recent 30lb salmon caught in the River Wye. Salmon stocks rapidly diminished due to a number of factors including pollution, habitat degradation and overgrazing of livestock. The top of the river is at fairly high altitude and full of forestry and as acid rain fell, it made its way into the river, wiping out growing areas and salmon habitat in the tributaries. Over the years a number of pollution incidents have occurred including the accidental discharge of 20 tons of sugar at Hereford in1994. The following year the River Elan (an Upper Wye tributary) and the Upper Wye itself both received an inadvertent chemical release which killed tens of thousands of juvenile fish. A healthy river would normally have a pH balance of around 6.5; the Wye during its worst period fell as low as 4, at which point fish reproduction can be affected. Vinegar has a pH balance of between 2.4 - 3.4. Flood defence schemes on the Lugg - a major Wye tributary were also a contributing factor as fish passes were not initially included, preventing fish from migrating. Habitat degradation caused by overgrazing of sheep was another contributing factor as the increased livestock (caused the river to become wider and shallow rather than narrow and deep which is preferable to the salmon and brown trout. A 15lb salmon being returned at Upper Bigsweir on 3 March - The Wye and Usk Foundation The historic practice of coppicing also ceased many decades ago which meant trees such as alder began shading large areas of the river banks, killing off the ranunculus weed which provided habitat for insects and their larvae - a vital food source for the fish. In 1997 work began to improve the river and the results are now being seen. Despite the lack of rainfall, the River Wye is enjoying the best start to the salmon season for at least 20 years and after less than four weeks fishing, 95 fish have been caught and safely returned. A decade ago the total salmon catch for March and April was just three. Four fish have been over 30lbs and 27 more than 20lbs, evidence that the monster 'portmanteau' salmon, for which the Wye was famous last century, are returning. Other positive evidence is that a much higher than average number of 'kelts' (salmon which have spawned) returning to the sea, have been caught, indicating good levels of spawning fish from last year. Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith, Director of The Wye and Usk Foundation, explained: "The success has been very much the result of partnership working." Adding a note of caution, Dr. Marsh-Smith says: "In spite of this excellent start, we are now seriously short of rain and salmon catches are increasingly confined to beats below Monmouth that benefit with fish coming in on the tides." Watch salmon on BBC Wildlife Finder. BBC Wales News: 'Timeless Wye' is voted public's favourite river. BBC Wales News: Climate change danger to salmon in River Wye.

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  2. There's always a huge air of expectation and excitement at springtime amongst locals along the banks of the River Severn and River Wye as the first eel fry or glass eels begin to arrive. This mysterious fish, makes the incredible journey from the Sargasso Sea to our waters every year (nearly 3,500 miles) but their numbers are now in serious decline and there are concerns over the eels future. Factors such as improved flood defences have prevented eels making their amazing journeys up and down our rivers but some locals are now coming up with an action plan to help. Severn & Wye Smokery, with the help of local chef, Matt Tebbutt, have organised an active educational and restocking programme in Monmouthshire, which comes in two parts: Eels in Schools This scheme aims to put an eel tank into local primary schools in Monmouthshire - currently Raglan VC and Cross Ash Primary. The school children look after and feed the glass eels for a period of weeks, during which time they learn all about the fishery, the environment and the significance of our actions on both. At the end of term, the eels are then released into the Usk and Wye rivers as part of the restocking project. There are plans to roll this out to other schools next year. Sustainable Eel Group Severn & Wye Smokery is already an active member of the Sustainable Eel Group. The group is made up of scientists, government agencies, suppliers and fisherman whose sole interest is the well-being of the eel and they are trying to address the issues that surround the eel. Richard Cook from the Severn & Wye Smokery has been passionate about eels all of his life: "I have had a very privileged life involved in fishing, exporting and restocking this secretive fish". Richard who only uses farmed eels in his smokehouse, feels that it's important we are all aware of the issues surrounding the eel and work to preserve this way of life and fishery for our children and future generations.

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  3. Some 800 fish have been released in a bid to protect a species under threat of extinction in North Wales. The Arctic char is only found in three of Wales' deepest and coldest lakes. The Arctic char were reared from eggs harvested in December 2009 from fish threatened by harmful algae at Ll...

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  4. A pipefish that's usually spotted in the warm seas of the Mediterranean has been found off the Welsh coast. This pipefish photographed by marine scientist Paul Kay, is thought to be a Shore or Black-striped Pipefish (Syngnathus abaster): Previously, it had only been found as far...

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  5. A fish species, never seen before in Welsh waters, has been spotted and photographed by marine scientist Paul Kay: Pipe fish. Photo: Paul Kay It is thought to be shore or black-striped pipefish (Syngnathus abaster) which has previously only been seen as far north as the Southern Biscay in the Atlantic. Dr Mandy McMath, Senior Marine Ecologist for the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) said: "Some species, if recorded routinely, could reveal important information on climate change and seasonal migrations. The sighting of more southerly species in Welsh waters indicates a possible rise in sea temperatures." Paul Kay, co-author of the Marine Fishes of Wales said: "It would be great if rock poolers, divers, anglers, fishermen or just anyone interested in identifying fish would go to fishrecording.info to report any unusual sightings. There are gaps in our information about endangered species so all information will help us build up a better picture of fish species in Welsh waters."

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  6. There are over 250 species of fish in Wales so it can be tricky working out whose who unless you're an expert or keen fisherman. Help is now at hand in the form of a new book entitled 'Marine Fishes of Wales' published by Marine Wildlife. The book has been a joint venture between the MCS, CCW and Welsh Federation of Fishermen's Associations. The fish recording info website has been set up to coincide with the book's launch so that anyone can log the details of fish they've caught or seen, as well as anything out of the ordinary. The information will help CCW and others build up a more accurate picture of the fish in Wales. A colourful red gurnard. Image courtesy of CCW: Mandy McMath, CCW marine specialist said: "Some species, if recorded routinely, could reveal important information on climate change and seasonal migrations. "We are also keen to hear from people who see unusual and endangered species, species where information gaps exist such as information on migratory species at sea; and species encountered by commercial fishermen and anglers." Paul Kay of Marine Wildlife is also interested in hearing from people who know of local place names that refer to fish or Welsh colloquial names for fish species. "For example, Porth Ysgaden in Pen Llyn, Gwynedd, translates as Herring Port. Although no herring are found here now, they must have been an important resource in the area in the past." If you've any information to share, get in touch with Paul via the marine wildlife website. Gull Countryside Council for Wales Marine Conservation Society Welsh Federation of Fishermen's Associations

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  7. Look away now if you're squeamish - this is the stuff of nightmares and wouldn't look out of place in a Ridley Scott 'Alien' movie. Image via www.clevercherry.com "The sea-dwelling parasite attacks fish, burrows into it, and then devours its tongue. After eating the tongue, the parasite proce...

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  8. When I was a boy messing about on the River Taff (at the weir just near the Millennium Stadium) I remember distinctly finding a tiny eel, but at the time I wasn't sure what it was. It was in fact a juvenile eel called an 'elver'.

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  9. There has been an extraordinary amount of rainfall in parts of the country which has resulted in rivers bursting their banks and many places being flooded.

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  10. Rain, rain, rain, it's been non-stop. The rivers are in spate and are full to the brim, which is relatively unusual for the height of summer.

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