Thousands of fish released into Chesterfield river plagued by historic pollution

Fish have been released into the River Rother.
Fish have been released into the River Rother.

Thousands of young fish have been released into the River Rother at Chesterfield as part of a project to restore the river’s fish population.

Around 6,000 grayling have been released into the river as it flows through Chesterfield, between the Alma Leisure Park and Chesterfield Station, to help fish populations recover from historical pollution.

This is the final step in a five year stocking programme by the Environment Agency, which is helping to restore the river’s ecology to how it was before the industrial revolution. The initiative has seen the release of 41,000 grayling into the river since 2014.

Fisheries officer, Jerome Masters said: “The River Rother was once one of the most polluted rivers in Europe and as a result, grayling, which were once common in our region, were wiped out. Weirs in the river also make it more difficult for fish to recolonise naturally.

“But life is returning to the Rother. Water quality in our rivers is steadily improving to the point where this important native fish species can be reintroduced, helping to support biodiversity and the region’s anglers.”

The Environment Agency releases fish into our waterways annually and its fisheries officers target fish stocking activity using data from national fish surveys to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.

Jerome added:“Targeted releases of fish into the rivers help the process of natural recovery and development. We’re pleased to be able to provide these young fish as part of our commitment to rod licence paying anglers. Restoration and the creation of new fisheries for all people to enjoy is a very important aspect of our work.”