Blog7 August 2013

Environment Agency working to save fish stocks

The recent heatwave hasn’t just been having an effect on people – the Environment Agency have been reporting hundreds of oxygen-starved fish in Britain’s rivers and lakes.

Warm water cannot hold as much dissolved oxygen as cold water, so oxygen levels have been depleting. The rapidly changing conditions do not allow fish time to acclimatise, and the Environment Agency has reported 15 separate incidents in July which caused the death of almost 50,000 fish.

In fact, a section of the river Cam has been closed for two days between Baits Bite Lock and Upware while officials treat the water. People have been warned to stay away while the procedure continues after around 300 bream, pike, roach and chub were found dead near Milton.

Agency teams and partners have been using a variety of techniques across the country to increase oxygen levels in water. One particular solution is to use pumps. An aerator is fitted to the discharge hose of the pump and mixes water and air in the flow. This is pumped into the waterway, providing emergency oxygenated water vital for the survival of fish.

Using a correctly configured Venturi connected to a general purpose pump can save fish stocks from catastrophically low oxygen levels

Sykes Pumps has appropriate ‘kit’ off the shelf and available for immediate despatch

With low dissolved oxygen concentrations, fish become stressed and susceptible to disease. Oxygen depletion is the most common cause of fish deaths in ponds, so fast action is necessary.

Clearly the depletion of the UK’s fish stocks could have a longer term environmental impact on the food chain in public waterways. In addition, owners and managers of fisheries will be equally concerned that their livelihood is at stake during excessively hot weather.

During this slight respite in the temperature, we would urge any organisation or business with concerns about fish stocks to put a contingency plan in place. This will ensure that should the UK experience another heat wave, a solution can be on site and activated quickly.

The Environment Agency have been advising people to contact them if they see fish gasping for air, and an angling ban is in place in some areas until 10 August at the earliest.