Fish rescued as Peak District river dries up

One of the brown trout moved downstream on the River Lathkill

Officers have been out on the River Lathkill near Bakewell, rescuing brown trout. All of the fish caught were moved downstream to sections with more water.

It is an area prone to drying up when there has been little rain. Fish are moved downstream and once water levels return to normal, the fish can repopulate the area. With May being the driest since records began, it is no surprise that Environment Agency specialists have needed to act.

Matt Buck, fisheries technical specialist with the Environment Agency, said:

In recent years we’ve had to rescue fish on this river as they’ve been left stranded when the river dries up after a prolonged period of dry weather. We will continue to monitor the river as sections of it are likely to continue to dry up and will carry out further fish rescues if needed.

Figures show that while February saw record breaking rainfall, in May it was only 11 per cent of the average for the month. Though rain this month has helped alleviate the situation, consumers are being asked to use water wisely, for example, by not using sprinklers or hoses to water gardens, and to take showers rather than baths. More tips on how to save water in your home can be found on websites of water companies.

The work was carried out adhering to current guidelines on social distancing.

Those enjoying our environment, such as anglers and boaters are being encouraged to report environmental incidents. Warm weather can often lead to algal blooms or water that is too warm which makes it difficult for fish to breathe. Fish are often seen gasping for air; if anyone sees fish in distress, please contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Notes to editors

The role of the Environment Agency during a dry spell is to monitor and protect the environment, whilst balancing the needs of people, industry and agriculture.

During dry spells it’s not unusual for some rivers and lakes in fast responding catchments to deplete quickly, during even short periods of low rainfall, and they tend to recover quickly when the rain returns.

We’re closely monitoring all rivers across the area, as is usual in warm dry weather, there are already abstraction restrictions in place. Further restrictions will be issued when necessary. These are issued when the river is too low to sustain the number of abstractions and protect the environment.

Published 30 June 2020

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