Fish death mystery

THE bodies of three pike have been recovered from the northern area Oulton Broad. The discovery follows reports from anglers of the deaths of several large pike.

One of the dead fish was exceptionally large, weighing in at more than 30lbs and the cause of the deaths still remains unresolved.

The Environment Agency is working closely with the pike angling community to assess a range of factors that could be playing a part in what many anglers believe to be a decline in the stocks of pike in the Broads.

Environment Agency fisheries technical specialist Steve Lane, said: “We are working closely with the Broads Angling Strategy Group to assess the current status of the pike population and examine a range of factors that may be adversely affecting the fishery.

“We are looking at a range of potential projects to help us gain more information on the pike population. In particular we are considering an innovative pike tagging project which will enable anglers fishing the Broads to help in the study of stock levels by directly reporting catch information to us.”

Following the Broadland Pike Conference last year, the BASG’s Pike Sub Group is helping advise the agency on pike fishery issues.

Group chairman and Regional Pike Angler’s Club of Great Britain officer John Currie said: “Whilst there currently is no evidence to establish the cause of death of these fish, I would urge all anglers to help us protect pike stocks by ensuring they use the correct handling techniques and proper equipment at all times when pike fishing.

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“Large pike in particular are very fragile and need to be handled very carefully. Many of the popular fishing banks around Oulton Broad are concrete or tarmac and in these situations, a good quality unhooking mat is an essential piece of equipment”.

Anglers are urged to report signs of dead fish, fish in distress, pollution or suspected illegal activities by phoning the Environment Agency 24hour hotline 0800 80 70 60 as soon as possible.