This week, for the second year running, the Environment Agency has introduced grayling fish into the River Rother in Chesterfield.
This year’s 13,000 fish brings the total released to 21,000 to help restore the river’s population of grayling. The young fish, which are three months old, were released at three locations on the River Rother in Chesterfield.
Known to anglers as the ‘lady of the stream’, grayling is in the same family as salmon and trout and has a distinctive sail-like fin on the top of its body. Adult fish typically grow to 30cm in length, but can grow to more than 50cm and over 1kg in weight.
Grayling would once have been native to the River Rother, but they have not been recorded in Environment Agency surveys in the river over the last few decades. Industrial pollution is likely to have caused the species decline in numbers and local extinction.
Improvements in water quality and the release of new fish into the river means that there is now a good chance for the species to thrive. A similar stocking programme in the River Don has led to the successful re-establishment of the grayling fishery, including through Sheffield city centre.
Fisheries Officer Jerome Masters, said: “The latest fish release is part of a five year programme that started in 2015. We have released thousands of young grayling into the River Rother over the last two years and will continue to do so each year up to 2019. When the fish grow to maturity, we expect them to be able to spawn in the river allowing us to stop artificial stocking.”
The Environment Agency releases fish into our waterways annually. Fisheries officers target fish stocking activity using data from local fish surveys to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.
The grayling all come from the Environment Agency’s Fish farm at Calverton, in Nottinghamshire, where between 350,000 and 500,000 fish are produced to stock rivers across the country each year. The introduction of these grayling and other fish is funded by the rod licence money that anglers pay annually.