Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fears for fry as swollen rivers flood

There are fears flooding could threaten fish populations as swollen rivers burst their banks in the North, Midlands and East Anglia.

Heavy rains in the Fens have seen the Ouse Washes flood and heavy run-offs in the River Delph.

Yesterday, the RSPB said 1,000 pairs of birds had lost their eggs or newly-hatched chicks as levels rose over the weekend, including some of Britain’s rarest waders.

Last night Environment Agency fisheries scientist Paul Wilkanowski said: "Strong flows at this time of year are generally bad news for fish fry.

"The fry in Mid June will be extremely small and poor swimmers and be unable to maintain position instream during periods of high flows.

"This can result in a downstream deplacement and potentially fry can be flushed out into the tidal river where they are likely to perish."

Some predator anglers fear rivers in the Fens already exhibit missing year classes of pike, meaning there are seasons when they fail to spawn successfully in some areas due to fluctuating levels and run-offs.

Elsewhere rivers burst their banks in North Yorkshire and the Midlands, as up to month's rain fell in 12 hours in some areas.