Three-year study gets under way

The Environment Agency is about to start a three year research study to look at breeding habits and movements of baby barbel in the Upper Great Ouse river.

Over recent years the Great Ouse has become synonymous with barbel – a fish featured on the Queen’s College, Cambridge, Coat of Arms.  An ancient fish, it is important to rivers, but at present there isn’t much known about its breeding habits.

Working closely with the Upper Ouse Fisheries Consultative Association (UOFCA), the Environment Agency is keen to find out whether there are young barbel in the Great Ouse.

Ian Hirst, fisheries specialist, said: ‘The popularity of fishing for barbel has grown over the past decade but we are struggling to understand where the young barbel are coming from.

‘We hope this study will use local knowledge, feedback and advice from UOFCA members  to help us build a clear picture of the barbel in our river and ensure there are plenty of fish for future anglers in the Great Ouse.’

Trevor Johnson, chairman of UOFCA and chairman of the Milton Keynes Angling Association, said: ‘Anglers in Milton Keynes and the Upper Ouse area are very happy to help lead the way in finding out more about the barbel in our river.

‘We have a long history of working in partnership with the Environment Agency which has always benefited angling and fisheries’.