• You need to be a registered member of Barbel Fishing World to post on these forums. Some of the forums are hidden from non-members. Please refer to the instructions on the ‘Register’ page for details of how to join the new incarnation of BFW...

Barbel stocked in the Somerset Levels

#1
First (small) barbel starting to be caught from the river Brue in Somerset apparently, having been stocked by the EA just under a year ago in association with several clubs. Still only babies at this point, but apparently in tip-top condition according to Brue anglers I spoke to at the weekend whilst on a recce down there.

Until now, the only Somerset river to have produced barbel was the river Axe, but these have been fish that are likely to have got into the river when nearby lakes (many of which had barbel introduced years ago, due to the complete lack of them in the region's rivers) have flooded, and catches have been very few and far between, and by accident. Unlikely that there are enough of these "escapees" to promote a significant barbel population in the Axe.

The Brue, however, is the first proper Somerset river (that I'm aware of, at least) to have benefited from an official stocking, after years of the EA refusing to introduce barbel to rivers where it has never been an indigenous species. Presumably the apparent success of stocking the river Chew in nearby North East Somerset annually since 2009/10, as well as the struggle of existing stocks in other rivers across the country, has made the EA review their stance.

Hopefully this will mean similar stockings in other South West rivers - many of which are more than suitable for barbel - will take place in the near future.

Naturally it's very very early days - and, despite being 7 or 8 years into their introduction, it's still very early days for the Chew barbel as well - but I know the Brue well, and it's a healthy river with a plentiful enough ecosystem to support them. I think this is a good bit of progress.

Now if only the Bathampton and Amalgamated clubs organised themselves and got the EA to re-stock the Avon below Chippenham...
 
#2
I was fishing the Blue last Friday, well, more like watching as it was so low and clear nothing wanted to know.
I saw some nice Chub & Bream as usual but swear there was a Barbel amongst them.
Do you know whereabouts the stocking(s) took place Chris?
 
#3
All I know is that the stocking had the involvement of "several" clubs. There are 4 that I know of that have control of stretches along much of the whole length and, I think I'm right in saying, there are no weirs or passes for the entirety of its length. So in theory they should now be present in, or at least have access to, the whole river.

Of course, it's entirely possible that there were already barbel in there from surrounding lake floodings, like the Axe, but as far as I know no one has ever reported a barbel capture from the Brue, unlike the Axe.

As I said, very early days, but they're still in there and now being caught a year later.
 
#5
Barbel in the Brue

Having spent some time looking into this I thought I should advise.
None of the local tackle shops were aware of any stocking into these rivers.
Also contacted Glastonbury Manor club who were also unaware of any species being stocked. They contacted the EA and were informed that it is a typo on the web page. So no barbel stocked into the river Brue but the other species were released. I.e. Chub, etc I thought it was too good to be true.
 

Neil Smart

Senior Member
#6
Having spent some time looking into this I thought I should advise.
None of the local tackle shops were aware of any stocking into these rivers.
Also contacted Glastonbury Manor club who were also unaware of any species being stocked. They contacted the EA and were informed that it is a typo on the web page. So no barbel stocked into the river Brue but the other species were released. I.e. Chub, etc I thought it was too good to be true.
And yet Steve reports that Barbel have been caught. Why would the EA not stock Barbel along with the other species? I had a look at the EA report and the Somerset Levels stocking was the largest at that time, plus why did the EA not correct the 'typo' it still reads that Barbel were released.
 
#7
Some years ago Glastonbury manor wanted to stock Barbel but were refused on the basis of none indigenous species. Something that makes no sense to me but that what they said. The secretary has only very recently spoke to an EA rep so I doubt that it has filtered through.
What I do find odd it why they would stock so many fish without any club contact. And then report it on the web page. Everyone I spoke to knew nothing about the stocking.
One thing which many have prompted things was I heard that the Sheppy had a bad pollution incident not that long ago.
 
#8
Just a two pence worth.

I understand from a reliable source that at least one river (not Somerset way) may have had some unofficial stockings of barbel by some naughty EA people.

Just to add.
 
#9
Barbel in the Brue

Just to add.
A couple of weeks ago I contacted the EA via their equiries page to get clarification for myself. So far heard nothing but I was never going to hold my breath on that.
 
#10
Barbel in the Brue

Well spoke too soon.
The answer has come back to my enquiry with the EA and was this:

I have spoken to our press team who said the document you are referring to is correct. In 2016 we released almost 2 million fish into English rivers however that information is out of date.

!!!!!!!!!
 
#12
Well after pressing for a yes or no answer this is the reply from the EA:

I have spoken to a local fisheries officer for the area who has said that the information on the the press release is incorrect and no barbel were released into the river Brue or Sheppy.

They are going to feed the info back to GOV.UK to make them aware.

So sadly it was incorrect.