The Environment Agency is reminding the North West’s angling clubs to manage carp fisheries with particular care this spring, after several incidents last summer in which carp died in large numbers.

The Environment Agency’s Bill Darbyshire said: “Tests on carp that died last summer in Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester were inconclusive. We can only conclude that the area’s carp could be more vulnerable than usual and so we’d like to remind angling clubs that they will need to manage their waters particularly carefully this year.

“Crowded waters can cause problems for carp, particularly in very hot or very cold weather, when oxygen levels in the water are lower. Fishery managers can avoid this by not over-stocking.

“We also advise that anglers try not to subject carp to unnecessary stress. Handling and moving carp, keeping them out of the water for too long and holding them in keep nets can all cause stress to the fish, making it harder for them to cope with low oxygen levels, parasites and disease.

“If you do find fish that are dead or dying, please don’t move them – instead, report the incident to the Environment Agency, using our free 24-hour emergency number, 0800 80 70 60. We’ll be able to give you help and advice. You can also protect stocks by closing waters in which unexplained carp deaths are occurring.”

In all circumstances, the Environment Agency also recommends that anglers dry fishing equipment in direct sunlight and never move fish from one river to another without the Environment Agency’s permission.

“We’re pleased to say that most anglers in the region already follow this advice as best practice,” explained Bill Darbyshire, “but it will be particularly important for carp fishermen in the coming months.”


Between May and July 2005, an unusually high number of carp deaths were reported on rivers, canals and smaller fisheries in Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

Extensive tests at the Environment Agency’s laboratories suggested that the carp were not killed by disease. The Environment Agency also ruled out pollution as a cause of death after taking water samples from the site of each incident.