Fishing activities along a stretch of the River Avon in Warwickshire have been temporarily halted following the alarming discovery of a significant number of deceased fish. The Barford Angling Association has taken swift action to ensure the protection of surviving fish by suspending angling activities until further notice.
An official from the association expressed astonishment at the unusually high quantity of dead fish found in the river, stating that such a sight had never been witnessed before. The Environment Agency (EA) has suggested that the recent hot weather might have resulted in a critical depletion of oxygen, proving lethal for the fish.
Moreover, the EA highlighted that the inflow of debris from recent storms could have exacerbated the oxygen scarcity, further endangering aquatic life. Paul King, the secretary of the angling club, reported the presence of numerous small fish floating downstream, along with several larger dead specimens, including chub, barbel, and brown trout.
An EA bailiff is expected to visit the site to investigate the situation. King emphasized the need to prioritize the welfare of the fish and explained that despite the eager anticipation surrounding the start of the new river fishing season, the decision was made to close the venue temporarily. This closure will enable a thorough assessment of the damage inflicted on the fish population.
In response to reports of distressed fish during the summer months, the EA stated that their staff is actively addressing the issue. The combination of prolonged warm weather and intense summer rainstorms in the Midlands, including the Avon catchment area, has resulted in the washout of materials from roads and gullies into watercourses. Once in the river, these materials exacerbate the depletion of oxygen levels, posing a severe threat to fish survival.
The EA is currently evaluating each report and determining the appropriate measures to be taken. Their teams are actively monitoring the watercourses, and fisheries officers are providing guidance and advice to fishery owners to help mitigate the impact of these incidents.
The temporary suspension of angling activities on the River Avon serves as a precautionary measure to protect the remaining fish population while further investigations are conducted. The prompt response by the Barford Angling Association and ongoing efforts by the EA reflects the shared commitment to preserving the river’s ecosystem and ensuring the long-term well-being of its aquatic inhabitants.