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Investigation into declining barbel at Throop fishery

A THREE-YEAR study using electronic tags has been launched to solve the mystery of why barbel fish are in decline at the historic Throop fishery near Hurn.

The Environment Agency is working with Ringwood Fishing Club after anglers reported a reduction in numbers.

In 2021 a barbel record was smashed when a monster 16lb 50z fish was landed there – but the club, which owns the fishery, fears such sizes might never be seen again.

Barbel being introduced to the Throop fishery
Barbel being introduced to the Throop fishery

Efforts to remedy that have kicked off with 200 barbels being introduced to three sections of the River Stour that make up the fishery.

They have been tagged with similar devices used for dogs and cats to try to find answers.

The problems have emerged despite dredging in the 1970s and significant improvements made to spawning areas and juvenile and adult habitats.

Scanning barbel
Scanning barbel

EA fisheries officer Jim Allan explained: “Using pit tags in this way gives us a great opportunity to monitor the barbel movements over a number of years and give input back to the club.

“Anglers can scan the fish they catch and track their movement. The data will provide valuable information on the validity of stocking and longer-term information on growth rates and survival.

“Christmas is a good time to introduce the fish into rivers, as it enables them to acclimatise to their new surroundings, ahead of their spawning season in the spring.”

The project has been jointly funded through the EA’s fishery improvement programme which re-invests rod licence income to improve fisheries.

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