Catching fish in a half mile wide river

On 8-9th May we carried out the bi-annual fish sampling on the Severn Estuary at Arlingham. This is no simple task as not only is the river very wide, it’s also tidal, rising and falling many metres twice a day.

We use fyke nets. These are like a long narrowing tube with the wide end pointing upstream. Fish swim into the net and can’t escape. They have special attachments in the mouth to prevent otters entering and getting trapped.

The fyke nets are set at low tide in the estuary channel. After 24 hours the nets are checked and any fish species present are identified, counted, measured and released.

The dominant species caught were Mullet, Eel and Sea Bass.

The netting forms part of our WFD (Water Framework Directive) TRAC (Transitional and Coastal) monitoring programme. The data collected allows us to monitor the fish populations of the Severn estuary.