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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Hedgehog rescue for fish in Bassenthwaite

Hedgehogs are coming to the rescue of fish in Bassenthwaite Lake through an innovative project being used for the first time in an English lake.

The Environment Agency and partners are creating a safe haven for fish at Cumbria’s Bassenthwaite Lake by installing three separate artificial reefs on the lake bed using ‘hedgehogs’ to provide shelter and create safe places for the fish to hide from predators.

The spikey constructions – between 1m to 2m in diameter – are being placed on the lake bed to create a complex matrix of space that any size of fish can hide in.

The hedgehog refuges, which were designed in America, have been installed as part of a partnership project between the Environment Agency, Bassenthwaite Sailing Club, Carlisle Diving Club, Derwent Owners’ Association, Lake District National Park and Natural England.

Michael Farrell, from the Environment Agency, said: “We are always looking for innovative ideas on how to protect the biodiversity of our rivers and these hedgehogs are one way that we can do this.

“Anglers have been concerned abut fish stocks along the Derwent catchment for some time and we have taken this approach, as it allows us to protect the fish without targeting the fish-eating birds.

“We are sure the hedgehogs will provide a welcome refuge for valuable native coarse and game fish stocks that will benefit anglers and the wider community.”

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