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Dead fish spark alert

PUBLISHED: 10:14 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:23 03 July 2010

Environment agency scientists are carrying out tests on dead fish discovered at the top of the River Thurne below Somerton. Water samples from there being taken almost daily are also being tested for the fish killer algae prymnesium that wiped out millions of prime stocks in the River Thurne Valley waters during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Environment agency scientists are carrying out tests on dead fish discovered at the top of the River Thurne below Somerton. Water samples from there being taken almost daily are also being tested for the fish killer algae prymnesium that wiped out millions of prime stocks in the River Thurne Valley waters during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The dead fish located last week included pike to over 17lbs as well as bream, and there were enough of them drifting in the margins to alert Norwich-based fishery officer Graham Gamble, who said: “Coarse fish often die at this time of the year for various reasons, but this time there were substantial numbers that caused us concern, certainly more than we would normally expect in July.”

This week investigations were still ongoing, but according to members of the Martham Angling Club, who fished a midweek match on the River Thurne behind the Pits on Tuesday, there were no signs of fish either in distress or dead in the stretch of water they were fishing, writes Roy Webster.

The winner Russell Smith weighed in 6lb 1oz, Gary Madison had 5lb 9oz and Paul Sparks 3lb 9oz.

“Fish were hard to catch, but those that did come out appeared perfectly healthy and there were no dead fish in the area I was fishing in,” said Madison.

So, while the Environment Agency officials remain bothered about a possible outbreak of the deadly killer algae, it seems there is no reason to panic, probably because cooler conditions has prevented the live algae cells from multiplying to the danger levels which produce the lethal toxin when the bloom dies off.

On Hickling Broad the Whispering Reeds Boatyard boss John Tusting said there had been no reports of serious numbers of dead fish.

“I think that some anglers may well be cramming too many bream into their keep nets during hot, humid conditions and that certainly can cause mortalities,” he declared.

“However, I applaud the Environment Agency for taking this matter seriously and they are constantly on these Broads collecting water samples.”

Caister-on-Sea brothers Darren and Jason Stamp once again delivered spectacular catches of carp while fishing their favourite Taswood Lakes.

Jason reeled in the best of their nine fish over 20lbs - a 30lb 1oz mirror to which he added another of 21lb 13oz. Darren heaved out seven mirror, common and ghost carp between 21lb 7oz and 25lb 6oz to complete this excellent family fishing session, while another Caister enthusiast Alan Waldron's best carp scaled 20lb 2oz.

On the match circuit the Yarmouth Feedermaster Series third round was won by Nigel Knights (DAD) with an excellent bream catch of 40lb 5oz from his River Yare peg no 23, while at club level the results were Sportsman's (Decoy Broad): K Hodgkins 11lb 8oz, L Arnold 10lb 6oz, A Varley 8lb 8oz. Stalham (Little Melton): J Hehir 34lb 10oz, D Agass 27lb 12oz, D Paynter 19lb 4oz. Caister Ship (Barford): N Page 49lb 3oz, Michelle page 22lb 2oz, A Waldron 21lb 9oz. Sam Hook Sea League (Orford): C Whitelock (Martham) 6lb 1oz, K Morley (Kessingland) 5lb 6oz, T Thomas (Sheringham) 4lb 13oz.

Anglers fishing for the pot from local beaches report mixed results, with flatfish and small bass the main fare. However an excellent stray cod of 10lb was reeled onto the Gorleston beach and another of 8lb was washed up by the heavy seas.

According to one report anglers fishing from a boat two miles off Gorleston were visited by a thresher shark that persisted in circling the boat for a considerable time.

However, threshers which are one of the five families of Alopiidae are considered harmless to man and are usually spotted in tropical and more temperate waters than the North Sea.

Its diet consists of squid and various shoal fish and the fact that one has visited the East Coast is perhaps another clear indication that the North Sea is steadily warming due to climate change creating conditions for tropical fish species.

This weekend brings the second round of the St Benets Summer League on the River Bure where the first leg produced a record catch of 117lb of bream.

Prospects for this Sunday's set-to are rated highly and again bream will be the fish in the nets of the leading anglers.

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