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Environment Agency Relocates 300 River Itchen Fish

UK - Environment Agency Fisheries Officers from the Fradley Park offices in Lichfield have relocated about 300 fish in the River Itchen at Long Itchington near Warwick to enable work to continue on a flood risk management scheme.

The Environment Agency commenced construction work two weeks ago  on 24 August 2009 on the Long Itchington river bank refurbishment scheme.

The scheme aims to improve the current condition of the existing flood bank to a standard that will protect properties from floods with a one per cent chance of happening in any one year, taking into account the impacts of climate change. It will also improve the design of the embankment, extending its lifespan and allowing for effective and safe future maintenance.

To carry out the works the River Itchen will be realigned some 25 metres to the south of its current position, moving it away from the current flood bank providing space for the new wider embankment.Before work commenced in the old channel it was necessary to minimise the effect on the local fish life.

The 300 fish which were moved including Roach, Perch, Dace, Pike, Eels, Minnows, Stoneloach and Bullheads. Once caught, they were put safely back into the river upstream of the new flood scheme works.

Fisheries Officer John Andrews was delighted to find 20 eels, ranging from 15cm to 35cm long, among the catch from this 300 metre stretch of the River Itchen.

“Eels are on a serious decline so I was very pleased to find so many in such a short stretch of river. This means that they are migrating upstream and that this is an ideal river for them to live in. “ he said.

John added: “Moving fish like this is an important part of the work we do to conserve fish stocks and to improve the sport of angling for today’s anglers and future generations. It is funded from rod licence money so the more anglers buy rod licences, the more work like this we can do.”

The realignment of the river creates the opportunity to enhance the local environment by creating 600 square metres of wetland area, this will improve local fish life as it will provide a shelter for small fish during strong flows.

the Fish Site Editor

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