Replenishing Milton Keynes waters with native fish
Guest blog from Milton Keynes Angling Association
Lakes, ponds, streams and rivers – and the wildlife on, in and around them – all contribute to the appeal of our parks.
And the Parks Trust, together with its volunteers and partners, goes to great lengths to keep them in good shape.
That includes looking after underwater worlds which most of us never see: microcosms which are homes to whole ranges of interdependent creatures ranging from invertebrates (bugs) to amphibians and fish.
Those ecosystems need healthy fish stocks which are important, not just to those who would fish for them, but as part of the underwater food chain.
The Trust's work in maintaining those stocks, and in establishing new populations in freshly created waters, includes 'growing on' small fish in designated small lakes and ponds against the day they move to other local waters.
Currently that is being combined with supporting a native species – the tench (tinca tinca) – which, nationally, is no longer as common as it used to be.
As part of that several hundred small tench ranging from 150 to 180mm in length (around 100 to 150 grammes) travelled in oxygenated tanks from a specialist supplier's premises to their new home in a Trust pond – where they joined a similar number added 18 months ago. How big can they grow? A schoolboy fishing Caldecotte Lake with his dad two years ago caught a real whopper weighing 5 kilo – just over 11 pounds!
As part of the same partnership operation others, some up to a kilo in weight, were added by Milton Keynes Angling Association to Trust waters open to angling.
Trust Operations and Landscape director Rob Riekie said: "It makes sense that if we are to rear our own fish, that it should be a valued native or 'heritage' species – just as we use native species when seeding wild flower meadows.
It also made sense that we should work together with MKAA, a fishing-rights tenant, tapping into their experience of sourcing quality fish, and to eliminate transport costs by sharing a delivery run."
MKAA's Trevor Johnson said: "Working on such projects with the Trust evidences our joint desire to improve and maintain, where possible, fish stocks in the parks."
Please do not be tempted to add unwanted fish from your pond or aquarium to open waters. However healthy they may look, they can carry diseases which spread and wipe out entire stocks, as happened at Ashlands three years back.