THE Environment Agency are on a major ‘man-hunt’ after two sizeable catfish were illegally put into a popular urban chalkstream.

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A Facebook video showed two men putting two cats from 5-12 lb into South London’s River Wandle around Poulter Park in Mitcham.

The EA quickly responded and sent a team of seven fisheries officers to electro-fish the narrow river.

But despite seeing loads of barbel, chub, trout, carp and big roach, failed to find the moggies.

A video the EA released of the netting operation has attracted over many thousands of online views.

 

An EA spokesman said: “We fished from the small, notched weir downstream of sewage treatment works up to Goat Bridge weir. Lots of other fish were present but no sign of the catfish.

“We won’t do any more electro-fishing as some of the stretches are too deep, plus it can cause stress and even death in other species and this is the last thing we want. One large chub and a couple of dace did perish.

“I would urge any sightings or captures of the catfish to be reported to our incident hotline, 0800 80 70 60 and will look to collect the fish.

“We are carrying out further investigations regarding the identity of those who stocked the cats, obviously though the video online gives nothing away,” he added.

Local anglers have reacted with horror to the news, many claiming that it could decimate the fish stocks.

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