Barbel fatalities on the River Wye.

A responsible member has this evening reported seeing dead barbel from the Wye Bridge in Monmouth.

This matter has been reported to NRW by the writer, and to give them all due respect, they replied to me three times within 45 minutes.

First the incident team advised me that the issue had been reported to their local team. Next a team leader rang me back saying that they were in Chepstow and would try to investigate tonight.

By 20.45 he had rung me back to say that they had attended, and although it didn’t look like a polution issue, and there was only one remaining dead fish visible, and they would take another look again in the morning.

Whilst there is probably nothing that they can do it is gratifying that their responce was so quick and attentive.

They must have missed England beating Sweden in the world cup quarter finals.

Although these casualties are probably just due to oxygen deficiency in this present heatwave which coincided with exceptionally low water levels, canoes and other river users adding stress to the already suffering fish, we must all all be aware how much more important it is to ensure that all the fish we catch are removed from the water for an absolute minimum time period. Not dragged up to the top of the bank for photo shoots.

Perhaps we should not fish at all during these times.

All fish, barbel particularly, should be returned to the water asap and held in an upright position facing upstream in the current to enable the current to get enough water flowing across their gills and restore their blood oxygen levels before they are released back into the river. This can usually be deturmined by the barbel strongly and deturminedly trying to swim away.

Barbel caught on strong tackle are far less prone to distress whereas fish caught on lighter tackle and played out of all their strength before comming to the net will suffer much more.

Any fish that turns belly up should immediately be re-netted and given more time to recover. Once a barbel is left floating belly up it will not usually be able to recover on its own. Failure to act accordingly will almost certainly result in a fatality.

This is so much more important in this hot weather and low water levels.

I hope you don’t mind me reminding everybody about this and I am sure all of our members are already fully aware.

If you have similar sightings please report them on our “incident report” page. Report an incident


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