Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pike to benefit from River Don rescue plan

Pike in Yorkshire's much-maligned River Don will be among the species to benefit from a new recovery plan for the river.

The document has been drawn up by River Don Fisheries Consultative Association, and the Environment Agency, after a serious pollution outbreak in which thousands of fish were killed.

Large barbel, chub, bream, roach, dace and other species perished when sewage entered the river following heavy rainfall last summer.

As a first stage of recovery the Environment Agency have already stocked more than 25,000 roach, dace and chub between Blackburn Meadows and Conisborough, and this week announced that a further £13,000 is to be made available in order to stock mature barbel between Kilnhurst and Mexborough. This will be followed by a staged introduction of a further 6,000 barbel over the next three years.

In addition major habitat improvements are being planned for the river, which, funding available, will see a fish pass being established at Sprotbrough weir, a major obstacle stopping fish movement from Doncaster upstream, and an ‘off river refuge’ to protect fry during times of high flow, below Rotherham.

The plan also includes extensive capital improvements to Yorkshire Water’s Sewage Treatment Works at Blackburn Meadows and Aldwarke.

Martin Read, Chairman of the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives, (NAFAC), said the improvements would benefir all species in the river, including pike.

‘This is excellent news and will go a long way to re-establishing the Don as a fishery in an area with possibly the highest concentration of anglers in the country," he said.

"I am delighted that the Don Consultative, as part of NAFAC, has been able to play such a major role in representing angler’s views and in establishing the current improvements and those planned for the future."