Locally extinct fish found again in Cumbria lake
Last updated at 10:03, Thursday, 24 October 2013
A fish declared 'locally extinct' more than 10 years ago has been found in Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria.
A new survey has found a single young vendace specimen in the water.
Its size, just 54mm long, means it likely to have hatched during the spring.
The vendace is regarded as Britain’s rarest freshwater fish and its reappearance in Bassenthwaite is unexpected.
Lancaster-based Dr Ian Winfield, of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, led the survey.
He said: “This finding of a single vendace individual is a very pleasant surprise and gives great encouragement to everyone involved in the restoration of Bassenthwaite Lake and its fantastic wildlife.”
The vendace is a relic of the last ice age, with only four native populations ever having been recorded at Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water and two lochs in south west Scotland. The Scottish populations became locally extinct many decades ago and vendace were last recorded in Bassenthwaite in 2001.
Until recently it was believed that only Derwent Water remained along with a population in Loch Skene, which was established using eggs from Bassenthwaite Lake in the early 2000s.
There are three possible origins for the new-found fish, believes the survey team.
One is that vendace have survived in Bassenthwaite for the last 12 years at levels below the limit of detection and may now be increasing in abundance. The second is that it arrived by moving down the River Derwent from Derwent Water and the third, that its downstream movement happened some time ago and it is the locally-spawned offspring of colonisers.
Bassenthwaite's fish have been monitored by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, which employs more than 450 people at four sites in England, Scotland and Wales, since 1995 in a project with the Environment Agency.
Each year, the amount and composition is assessed using echo sounding and limited netting.
First published at 06:57, Thursday, 24 October 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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no doubt the nimbys in keswick will use this to stop the travelodge from being built lol
Spot on Brian, well said.
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