THE Catfish Conservation Group are campaigning to get their favourite fish off the non-native list, saying they are now an established species like carp.

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And the Angling Trust, angling’s governing body, have called for the Government to carry out a comprehensive scientific study to see if Europe’s largest coarse fish can become a native UK species.

The calls have happened since the species hit the headlines this summer with the first giant out of a UK river with a 94 lb beast from the River Severn to Neil Bridges.

CCG general secretary Richard Clarke (pictured) said: “Neil Bridges’ capture of the largest UK river catfish ever recorded has certainly caused a stir. Everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion and many have commented on the apparent impact of wels catfish now and in the future.

“In 1884 it’s recorded that a catfish was spotted in the River Wensum, and since then there have been several deliberate stockings of catfish to the river systems.

“These include the River Thames at Sunbury where in 1923 there were two well documented stockings of a dozen kittens, in 1996 the River Trent, at Cottam had a stocking of around 100 catfish, and the Great Ouse at Overcote – 100 fingerlings were stocked in 1989.

“The CCG is campaigning for a change to the status of wels catfish in the UK on the basis they have been in residence for 150 years now and have had no impact on the habitat they are living in,” he added.

 

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