The Environment Agency’s Calverton Fish Farm in Nottingham is celebrating the release of over four million young fish into the wild since it began its coarse fish breeding programme in 1986.

The breeding programme is funded from the purchase of fishing licences so, as well as contributing to the environmental benefits, anglers buying a fishing licence this month in readiness for the start of the new year on 1 April will be improving the sport for future generations.

Over the past 15 years, the production of fish has increased and most river catchments in England and Wales have now been stocked with fish bred at Calverton. Nine different types of coarse fish are now raised there, including roach, chub, dac, barbel, tench, rudd, crucian carp, grayling and bream. The majority of the 4 million fish have been released in the last 5-6 years. In the past year alone (since 1 April 2003), over 360,000 fish have been stocked in rivers across the country.

The fish are released into the wild at 1½ to 2½ years old as part of a planned programme to replace fish killed in pollution incidents, and to create new fisheries, so that fish populations will increase long term.

Alan Henshaw, Team Leader at Calverton, says: “This is an important milestone for Calverton Fish Farm. The four million fish we have released into English and Welsh rivers demonstrate the Environment Agency’s commitment to restoring damaged fisheries and creating new ones. They also represent the important investment made by anglers in the future of their sport every time they buy a fishing licence.”