Fish numbers in some of London’s rivers were given a boost by the Environment Agency last month as 1,500 juvenile fish were released into three rivers. The restocking was carried out at locations on the River Wandle, the Beverley Brook and the Hogsmill.
The Environment Agency has released coarse fish including, chub, dace and barbel since the early 1980s and many of these are now caught as large, specimen fish. Last month fisheries officers visited the three rivers with early Christmas gifts of 1,500 dace and chub.
All the fish supplied were raised from stock at the Environment Agency’s Calverton fish farm, near Nottingham.
Due to the urban nature of the rivers, lots of barriers prevent fish from moving upstream, so the fish were stocked at the top of each section enabling them to swim over weirs and barriers to find their own areas to settle, supplementing fish stocks in local areas.
The first port of call was the Hogsmill Open Space, a site of rehabilitation for the River Hogsmill, where five hundred fish were introduced. Second stop was Richmond Park and the Beverley Brook where five hundred fish were added to the river in the hope that they will strengthen the rivers’ population. Finally, the remaining chub and dace were put into the Wandle at Hackbridge, where they all swam off to their new home in time for the New Year.
Penn Ponds in Richmond Park were also a beneficiary as tench and crucian carp were released in an attempt to restore historical value to the fishery and encourage anglers to the lakes.
Angling is an important sport in the UK making rivers and lakes more accessible to many people, and helping boost local economies. These fish were funded by revenue generated from the sale of rod licences, which underlines the important role anglers play in improving the environment while contributing directly to the sport.
However, fisheries teams wanted to stress that the re-stocking should not encourage people to illegally introduce their fish into rivers and public lakes.
Tanya Houston added: “These fish are the natural species for these rivers and are disease free. In order to protect our own native species it’s vitally important that people don’t release any fish illegally into our rivers. Non-native fish species, such as the goldfish, have already had a devastating impact on some of our native crucian carp in a similar way that the grey squirrel has decimated our native red in our forests.”
Licences are available online at These licences are also available by calling the Environment Agency on 0870 1662 662, or from any Post Office.