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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 12:48 GMT
Rare fish saved from extinction
Gwyniad
The gwyniad is said to be similar to a herring
The final phase of a project to save a fish dating back to the Ice Age which was native only to one lake in Gwynedd has been successfully completed.

The whitefish, the gwyniad, was facing extinction at Llyn Tegid near Bala until the conservation work began.

But fertilised eggs from the fish have now been relocated to nearby Llyn Arenig as part of a two year project.

The new site will be closely monitored but the second gwyniad habitat is now expected to flourish.

Llyn Tegid has been home to the gwyniad for 10,000 years, but the fish have come under threat in recent years for a number of reasons.

These include water quality, a lack of oxygen and the depths of the lake in summer, human activity and fluctuating lake levels.

A small fish called ruffe - introduced to the lake in the 1980s - which attack spawning gwyniad and ate their eggs and young fish provided another danger.

Gwyniad
The gwyniad were caught in Llyn Tegid and their eggs taken

The relocation project has been undertaken jointly the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), Environment Agency Wales (EAW) and Snowdonia National Park Authority.

Richard Brassington of EAW said fisheries officers and staff from the national park used all their experience and expertise to transfer the fish safely to their new home, and 31 fish had been caught this year.

"These rare fish spend most of their time in the deeper, colder parts of the lake, except at this time of the year where they move into shallower water at night to spawn," he said.

Rhian Thomas, CCW's freshwater ecologist said although the relocation phase of the joint project was complete, monitoring work will continue.

During the summer, a further survey of the gwyniad will be conducted at Llyn Tegid to monitor any changes in the population.

"Also in a few years time a survey at the nearby lake will monitor the success of the relocation project," she said.

"By this time, we hope a new population will have been established."




SEE ALSO
Rare fish rescue scheme extended
30 Jul 05 |  North West Wales
Bid to safeguard rare fish
02 Feb 05 |  North West Wales
Reserve seeks to curb fishing
01 Feb 05 |  South West Wales
Commissioner in fishermen visit
28 Jan 05 |  Mid Wales
Project aims to boost fish stocks
17 Dec 04 |  Mid Wales
Fish areas 'need drastic action'
07 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature

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