Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 11:16 UK

Agency to boost river fish stocks

Chris Reeds with barbel
Chris Reeds said putting barbel into the river would keep stock healthy

About 1,500 young fish will be released into a river as part of an ongoing project to keep stock numbers healthy.

The Environment Agency is releasing the barbel into the River Nene in Wansford and Castor, Cambridgeshire, and Barnwell and Yarwell, Northamptonshire.

Surveys have shown although barbel are spawning, stocks are low and many fish are reaching the end of their lives.

The plan now is to release about 1,000 of the fish into the river every year for the next three or four years.

Chris Reeds from the Environment Agency said the restock would ensure the survival of a healthy community of fish in the river.

In the mid-1990s, up to 20,000 barbel were put into the Nene after it was discovered they had all but disappeared due to pollution.

Navigation locks had also prevented them from meeting up to spawn.

Over the last few years, fish passes have been built at the locks to allow the fish the freedom to swim up and down the river.

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