Monster catch helps keep Cheltenham's fish happy
THOUSANDS of Cheltenham's fishy residents are heading to a new home.
With Pittville Park's resident upper lake population of roach and carp getting a little crowded, experts caught a massive 7,000 of them to allow those left behind to flourish.
The 7,000 taken out of the lake will now be sold on to help other fish stocks, with the profits being reinvested into the park's maintenance.
Cheltenham Borough Council's community ranger Janice Payne enlisted the help of fishery experts from Melton Mowbray to help rehome around 50 per cent of the lake's stock.
Bring a friend to Yoga with Evelyn at 8pm on Wednesdays, and get...View details
Bring a friend to Evelyn’s “Yoga” class on Wednesdays at 8-9pm, and get your class half for only £3. Offer open to non-members. Contact Natasha on 07958 520042 for details.
Terms: Class running at Fitness4Less, Grosvenor terrace. Non-members welcome.
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
"A few years ago we had a lot of fish that died because the lake was overstocked and we were worried that it might happen again," she said.
"So we took as many fish out as we could and we will do the same again every couple of years.
"There's a constant supply of new fish and a study of them showed that they are healthy."
Overstocked ponds and lakes mean disease is spread more easily.
Council staff who were responsible for managing the lakes have been cut back and resources have been left stretched.
But Hartpury College environmental students are putting their skills to work by carrying out studies of the lake. They noticed that older fish in Pittville were suffering from stunted growth.
Stephen Wyatt, from Jon Wall Fisheries, was on hand to carry out the huge operation.
He said: "We try to take as many as possible because we need to keep the fish happy.
"We took out around 400-500lb in weight – that's up to 7,000 fish which is an incredible number for the lake. It's hard for most people to grasp really."
The specialist team will be back in the park next week to tackle the equally overstocked lower lake.
A plentiful supply has left ranger Janice with a headache when it comes to controlling fishing on the site.
"We don't want any fishing on the top lake at all, but I can't be there all the time," she said.
"I am hoping we can find an angling club to help manage the bottom lake.
"I know there are a lot of keen, young anglers who really care about the park."