The River Brue running through Highbridge has received a fish population boost from the Environment Agency this month.

Fisheries officers have restocked over 1,800 fish – including chub, roach, dace and bream – into the River Brue upstream.

The Environment Agency says the action comes after many fish died over the past summer in the Brue due to high temperatures and prolonged dry weather.

Every year, the Environment Agency’s Calverton Fish Farm near Nottingham breeds coarse fish for release into rivers and still waters across England to help boost fish populations.

River levels have returned to normal after the autumn rainfall and flows are plentiful for the new arrivals.

Liam Timothy, Environment Agency Fisheries Officer, told “Somerset boasts many angling clubs which is evidence there is a healthy amount of fish in the county’s waterways.”

“But occasionally a helping hand is needed to restore the natural balance in the wake of an incident or decline.”

“The work of the National Fish Farm is funded by income from licence fees, so in the lead-up to Christmas it’s great to see the fish farm continuing to produce strong and healthy fish needed for re-stocking and recovery.”

The restocking is part of an annual programme funded by income from rod licence sales.

Restocking occurs in winter because water temperatures are low and this minimises any stress on the fish, giving them the best possible survival rates.

Restocking is done where numbers are low, have been depleted following a pollution incident, or to create new fisheries and opportunities for anglers.

December is regarded as a good time to introduce the fish into rivers, as it enables them to acclimatise to their new surroundings, ahead of their spawning season in the spring.

Fish play a critical role in sustaining a river’s finely balanced ecosystem, so the wider natural environment will also get a boost.

You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in England. More details on how to get a licence are available here.

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