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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Hedgehogs save fish in west Cumbrian pond

An angling club has joined forces with the Environment Agency to save under-threat fish – by using hedgehogs.

River hedgehog photo
Salterbeck Angling Club member Tucker Riach with Mike Farrell, of the Environment Agency

Members of Salterbeck Angling Club and the a gency installed seven artificial reefs – known as hedgehogs – at Salterbeck Pond on Shore Road on Friday. The reefs are designed to reverse the decline in fish stocks.

The Environment Agency invested £500 into the project after the club reported its fishing stock had plummeted by 50 per cent because of cormorants, otters and mink.

The spiky constructions, made of PVC, are around 3ft in diameter and create a complex matrix space that fish can hide in. Once established and weeds start to grow on them they could create spawning sites.

The agency has also invested money into a fishing stock programme over the past few years to bolster numbers there.

Angling club member David Foster said: “This is a great thing. You used to be able to catch cruising carp in this pond, there were loads of them. We haven’t seen any for ages.”

Members say they have caught roach, bream, perch and eels in the pond.

The structures were installed at Bassenthwaite Lake and Cogra Moss near Ennerdale last year.

Mike Farrell, fisheries and biodiversity officer for the Environment Agency, said: “Anglers have been concerned about fish stocks in the pond 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 coarse fish that will benefit anglers and the wider community.”

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