Investigation into hundreds of fish deaths to get underway

Investigators from the Environment Agency are to electrify fish to discover if the population has recovered from a devastating pollution leak two years ago.

Fish stocks in the River Churnet in Staffordshire were almost wiped out in December 2008 when more than 700 fish, including about 300 brown trout, were killed.

The work is due to get underway tomorrow (June 6) to find out if the trout population is showing signs of recovery.

Electrocution, a standard method used to monitor in move fish during activities like dredging, will be used on the fish.

The process means the fish are 'lightly stunned' with an electric current for long enough to be collected in nets.

They are then placed into oxygenated water to measured, a sample is taken of the scales of each trout cap examination at the National Fisheries Laboratory to find the age and growth rate.

The Environment Agency says all the fish will be returned to the river unharmed.

Fisheries officer, Mick Buxton, said: "This stretch of the River Churnet was affected by a pollution incident in December 2008 and we need to know what long term impact, if any, there has been.

"A healthy population of fish and invertebrates is a good indication of a healthy river so this survey will tell us how well the river is recovering."

Luke Walsh




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