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Monday, 11 December 2017 13:43

Monitoring fenland fish on Norfolk's flood Relief Channel

Environment Agency fisheries officers use a variety of techniques to go about trying to understand and manage fish stocks within The Relief Channel, a huge flood relief system in Norfolk.

The Relief Channel protects the fens, it's up to 4m deep and is home to shoals of roach and bream. It's a channel 16km long and up to 100m wide.

In the recent past fish surveying was conducted with miles of net, fishery officer's muscle, time and a whole lot of luck... but for 2017 the EA's fisheries monitoring techniques have moved on. They now use a variety of methods to try to fully understand what's going under the water, improving accuracy of data, and reducing the luck element of netting surveys.

By using sonar imaging they can survey the whole channel, understand the density of how many fish and locations. The EA also use fish finder technology to get a more accurate feeling of fish distribution and even underwater shoaling and behaviour. By combining all of these techniques they have increased efficiency, have a much better understanding of fish populations, with the data giving them intelligence on fish management options.