FISHERY CLOSED FOR WINTER REFURBISHMENT - OPENING FEBRUARY 2018

Fishery Management: The Risk of Pollution

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Picks Cottage Fishery, like many other Day Ticket Fishing Lakes have to be aware of the risks of pollution. Fishing lakes are unfortunately vulnerable to pollutants from various sources which are often difficult to observe. With good management, we are able to mitigate the risk of pollution reaching our lakes but this is not to say that the risk no longer exists. Thankfully the arrival of legislation such as the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act in 1975 have increased protection available to fisheries, but I personally feel that a proactive approach is always best.

Over the years there have been far to many cases of fishing lakes descimated by fishery pollution. Fortunately, the agenda has come to the foreground with advances in legal controls and advances in technology. The days where industrial and sewage waste were freely discharged into waters are mostly behind us. Today, the biggest threats are often accidental.

Agricultural pollutants are well documented as a risk to fisheries, but sadly new cases are reported every year. Many carp fishing lakes are located in rural/agricultural areas and at risk to the effects of these pollutants reaching their water. At Picks Cottage, we control the vast majority of land surrounding our complex and the water run off which arrives. Being located at the highland of the Lea Valley, we are able to achieve substantial control in terms of what pollutants reach our lakes. The primary issue with agricultural pollutants is eutrophication. This occurs when fertilisers reach the water and cause a rapid fluctuation in organic matter, the increased oxygen demand of plant life (most notably algae) depletes the dissolved oxygen in the lake and can lead to numerous fatalities. We always ensure that fertilisers are never used on or within the proximity of our fishing lakes. This insures that we are never polluting the habitat we have created.

 Urban and industrial risks may not at first be apparent, but road run off and overflowing storm systems can be incredibly hazardous to fishing lakes. As one of the few day ticket fishing lakes in London , our location is ideal as any urban runoff occurs below our highland position. Many waters will receive urban pollutants dependent on their location, but there risk is dependent on the locality of the source. To many it may sound suprising, but as water travels across soil there is a natural filtration action which occurs removing polluting substances. If a lake is located in close proximity to a road or storm drain, the risk is far higher as pollutants haven’t been exposed to natural filtration. These are all issues which are addressed at the initial conception of any lake on our fishery, ensuring risks are drastically reduced.

The final area of pollution I will discus is pollutants as a result of acid rain from engine/industrial emissions. Now short of Picks Cottage anglers storming on the houses of parliament, this is a far tricker issue for us to address. Acidifcation of fisheries by acid rain is a real issue, many anglers will have seen on TV how acid rain has slowly degraded many buildings and statues across the country. It will come at no surprise that this rain is falling on our lakes aswell as our statues. The risks of ph have been discussed earlier in our fishing lake water quality article, but suffice to say acidic water poses a substantial threat to the UK fish stocks. Lowland fisheries are less susceptible to highland waters where natural filtration can reduce the effect. As a result we regularly monitor our water quality (including pH) to ensure that safe parameters are always maintained.

In most cases, it is difficult to ascertain an individual pollutant. The effects are often the result of a combination of risks in addition to factors such as low oxygen, temperature fluctuations and poor habitat. By managing the habitat correctly, we have been able to maintain the fantastic condition of both our fishery and fish stocks.  

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  • Jamie Roddick