The Environment Agency is asking people in Kent to help protect brown trout living in the River Dour in Dover. Officers are concerned that recent work to improve the populations of fish will be damaged this winter if people do not respect the sensitive spawning time.


At this time of year adult trout move onto gravel areas to spawn. The female trout use their tails to create a ‘redd’ or depression in the gravel bed. They then deposit their eggs to be fertilised by the male fish. The eggs are covered up and remain until April when the juvenile fish eventually emerge.


The Environment Agency is urging people who use the river to remember that the fish are very sensitive whilst spawning and should not be disturbed.


Between 31 October 2006 until 3 April 2006 (not inclusive), anglers attempting to fish for trout could face prosecution and fines of up to £2500. People can also be prosecuted if they disturb spawning fish, the spawn of fish and the bed of bank where spawning fish may be. Environment Agency Water Bailiffs carry out regular patrols on the River Dour and will not hesitate to prosecute anyone caught breaking the law.


Chris Conroy, Kent Area Biodiversity Team Leader, said:


“We have done a lot of fantastic work, together with other organisations, to improve the conditions in the river and encourage brown trout to return. The results from our fish population surveys this year have been extremely positive and shown us that the River Dour now has one of Kent’s strongest wild brown trout populations.


“During this spawning and incubation period, both adult and juvenile trout are particularly sensitive. We want to make sure that anglers continue to help us protect the fish by not disturbing them. By protecting the trout now we can make sure that the river is enjoyed by all for future generations.”