Thursday, March 06, 2008

EA appeals for help with pike survey

Pike anglers are being asked to help a new research project into the decline of pike on Windermere.
The Environment Agency and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology are appealing for regulars to record their catches in specially designed log books.
Long-term research by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Freshwater Biological Association has shown contrasting trends in the lake’s north and south pike populations
Up to the mid 1980s, pike numbers and average weight were similar in the two areas but over the last two decades these important top predators have become relatively more common and heavier in the north of the lake.
EA fisheries officer Graeme McKee said: “Although pike are still more common and heavier in the north than in the south of the lake, since 2000 the number and average weight of even these fish have been declining. The long-term research is based exclusively on winter sampling and the aim of the log book scheme is to produce data on the number, size and condition of the fish all year round.”
All anglers who return their log books will receive a report summarising the overall findings. Angler’s personal details will remain confidential.
Ian Winfield, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said: “We know that Windermere is currently a very dynamic ecosystem. The condition of the lake’s pike populations, which sit at the top of the food chain, can tell us a lot about Windermere’s overall functioning and so guide us towards the best management for the area. The pike log book scheme will make a major contribution to this work.”
If you would like to take part in the log book scheme call Ben Bayliss or Debbie Davidson on 01768 215757