Jan 9 2013 Birkenhead News
Alien fish caught in our midst!
WAR was declared this week on an “alien” fish species in Wirral.
Specialists from the Environment Agency donned protective body suits and face masks to remove a non-native species known as Topmouth Gudgeon from Larton Livery Fishery in Frankby.
The mission started with a fish rescue on Monday and Tuesday, which saw all native fish stocks being taken from the waters and temporarily stored at the Environment Agency’s fisheries depot in Winsford.
Today a chemical piscicide, known as Rotenone, will be released to remove the gudgeon population.
The Environment Agency said Topmouth Gudgeon was an alien species of fish to the UK and increased the risk of new diseases and parasites for native fish.
It also increases competition to native fish for food and habitat and is known to eat the eggs and larvae of native fish.
The small fish reproduce rapidly, spawning up to four times a year.
Steve Powell, Strategic Fisheries Specialist, said: “We have taken swift action to remove the Topmouth Gudgeon at Larton Livery, as they pose a risk to the health and quantity of native fish stocks such as salmon and trout.”
The fishery will be replenished after the gudgeon population has been brought under control.
The Environment Agency said it hoped to return the native fish stocks in early February.
Topmouth gudgeon – or Pseudorasbora parva – is originally from eastern Asia and at 2 to 7cm, is around the same size as the UK native gudgeon.
It is classified as non-native and high risk under the Import of Live Fish Act 1980 but has been found in waters across the country.
It is likely they were introduced into the ecosystem through the ornamental fish trade.
Kirk Farrell, owner of Wirral Angling Centre in Tranmere, said the move was likely to be welcomed by anglers fishing for other species like carp.
He said: “I would say they’re doing it in the interests of the anglers and the owner. You never know what diseases Topmouth Gudgeon could spread and it could end up wiping out the existing stocks, which would cost a lot to replace.
“Topmouth Gudgeon are a very small species and they’re not indigenous to this country. They’re not a target species for anglers.”