The Environment Agency’s West Area Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Team have been working with the Evesham Market Town Partnership, Wychavon District Council, and the Evesham Angling Festival Committee to create a ‘fish refuge’, a safe haven for baby fish, on the River Avon at Evesham.
We have spent about £35,000 of rod licence income, plus contributions from partners, to enlarge an existing ditch and improve access for fish in Corporation Meadow, Evesham.
Wychavon District Council has installed some safety barriers and is to landscape the refuge and provide some information boards. We would also like to thank the Rudge Trust for making it possible by providing some of the land.
This new refuge, which is connected to the River Avon, will provide important nursery habitat for young fish, as well as providing shelter from high river flows and predators. Over time it should boost the number of fish in this important stretch of the Warwickshire Avon. Similar schemes have been used very successfully in a number of UK rivers.
Over the last few decades, due largely to Environment Agency efforts, there have been significant improvements in water quality. This is great news for the environment, but better water quality can also make fish harder to catch, which could threaten the existence of the Evesham Angling Festival.
The fish refuge is one way of improving fish stocks in the river to enhance the angling experience at this great venue, widely considered to be ‘the Wembley of Angling’, where we invested in improved access a few years ago.
The Evesham Angling Festival is a great showcase event, promoting angling, and bringing a huge amount of income to boost the local economy.
Sam Chapman, Fisheries Technical Officer, said: “Better water quality is great news for the environment but it can make fish harder to catch. This new fish refuge, built thanks to the anglers who buy rod licences, is designed to improve fish stocks at Evesham and help to secure the future of the important Evesham Angling Festival. We hope that local and visiting anglers of all ages and abilities will make use of this great facility.
“The Environment Agency is committed to improving the angling experience for all, particularly in accessible urban areas such as this. The fish refuge is another example of how we invest rod licence money in the future of the sport for the benefit of anglers. The more anglers buy licences, the more work like this we can do.”
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