1. ITV Report

Fish stocks boosted by innovative reef beds

Bassenthwaite Lake's fish to get new habitat Photo: ITV Border

Three artificial reef beds are being lowered into the depths of Bassenthwaite Lake near Keswick today. (December 1st).

They are designed like huge 'hedgehogs' with spikes along them to attract fish.

There have been concerns by local fishermen that catches have been down due to a decline in fish stocks in the Lake.

It's hoped the types of fish that are caught by anglers such as trout will use them to hide from predators and breed.

It's the first time that something like this has been tried in an English lake.

The spikey constructions are between 1 to 2 metres in diameter are being placed on the lake bed to create a complex matrix of space that any size of fish can hide in.

The 'hedgehog' refuges, which were designed in America, have been installed as part of a partnership project between the Environment Agency, Bassenthwaite Sailing Club, Carlisle Diving Club, Derwent Owners' Association, Lake District National Park and Natural England.

We are always looking for innovative ideas on how to protect the biodiversity of our rivers and these 'hedgehogs' are one way that we can do this.

Anglers have been concerned abut fish stocks along the Derwent catchment for some time and we have taken this approach, as it allows us to protect the fish without targeting the fish-eating birds. **

We are sure the 'hedgehogs' will provide a welcome refuge for valuable native coarse and game fish stocks that will benefit anglers and the wider community.**

– Michael Farrell, Environment Agency