Barbel-recovery-2AS REPORTED in the must-read Angler’s Mail printed magazine, the Barbel Society have revealed all the good work they do up and down the country for members and non-members alike.

Here’s their latest report in full as a special piece for

In the last five years, the Barbel Society has funded, or part-funded, the following projects, supporting both habitat work of real conservation value, and positive research into barbel and barbel fishery management;

Stocking of the River Dane; following pollution of the river, the BS made a grant to a local club to help establish barbel populations.

Stocking of the River Aire; the BS made a grant to a small club to help improve barbel populations on the river.

Stour Barbel Project; in partnership with local clubs and the EA, the Society raised over five thousand pounds towards habitat improvement works on the river, involving the reintroduction of gravels, and construction of fry bays.

Work on a weir at Throop was recently completed, with the help of 2K from the Barbel Society, and further works are planned.

The EA and the BS placed 9,000 small barbel into the middle reaches of the river in the last three years as part of the project.

A further 1,000 barbel were stocked into the Stour in 0ctober 2012, and plans for further fry bay construction are in hand for completion in 2013/14.

Arborfield Weir Project; the Society provided several thousand pounds worth of gravel and materials to support this EA-led Award winning project on the River Loddon.

The Society is also helping to fund research into barbel movements on the Loddon, using marked stock fish placed into a sidestream. This work is intended to be carried out in 2014/15.

Bransford Project; The Society worked in partnership with the EA and Severn Rivers Trust to skylight a stretch of the Teme near Worcester, bringing life-giving light to the river, as well as providing improved bank stability. Unstable willows were pollarded and coppiced, and woody debris placed in the river, along with planting of fresh willow pollards to retain bank collapse.

Funds from the BS were also utilised by the Severn Rivers Trust for other habitat works on the Teme.

A second phase of this work is planned for 2014.

St Patricks Steam Project; the Society paid for a fish survey and report on this Thames tributary, and will support the resulting habitat works with further funding.


The end result, as seen in the image above is some premium barbel. You may catch different types of barbel with the three different techniques shown.


Bournemouth University Research Projects; the Society has funded a major piece of research work, which involves a review of all current barbel research work, and also some tank experiments into competition between barbel and other species, both of which have now been published. The University is also carrying out a scale reading study, using scales provided by the EA and BS members. This study will be the largest of its kind, and will provide information on growth rates and population structure for many UK rivers.

A database of all available barbel-related research is to be compiled over time by the University.

More work is being carried out in partnership with Queen Mary College London on barbel diet, which will involve further analysis of scales and this will use complex techniques to establish the proportion of natural food, angler’s baits and crayfish in barbel diet.

The analysis of the scales for the barbel diet research was carried out in 2013, with a report expected in 2014.

Growth rate analysis work on the Teme, Kennet and Hampshire Avon has already been completed and published, and scales from barbel on the Trent and Severn are being collected next season for further study.

The Society has committed funding over the next three years, 4K per year, in support of a PhD project at Bournemouth University which builds on the work of Karen Twine on the Great Ouse, but will involve work on more rivers, and will look at current populations and the factors affecting barbel recruitment, as well as more work on barbel diet and spawning habitat.




Teme/Severn barbel project; the Society is also working closely with the EA and Severn Rivers Trust in a bid for funding a major project to investigate the barbel populations of the River Teme and Severn, though this in the early planning stages. It is hoped to commence in early 2015.

Barbel and gravels; the Society is helping to fund a PhD student at Loughborough University researching the effects of barbel foraging on gravel mobility and structure.

River Cherwell Project; the Society has worked in partnership with the EA and The Wild Trout Trust, providing funding to provide instream cover for fish on this Thames tributary, in the form of large tree trunks, woody debris and live hanging willows.

Hampshire Avon habitat works; using funds raised in conjunction with the Avon Roach Project, the Society has removed redundant iron pilings from the river, and has several thousand pounds earmarked for further habitat improvements. Consent has been given to construct a fry bay for the benefit of coarse fish fry of all species, and this was completed in summer 2013.  Further work is planned on the Avon, in partnership with the Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust, all supported by the Environment Agency and local fishing clubs.

River Lea stocking support; the Society has funded  the stocking of 400 small barbel into a sidestream of the River Lea, in order to monitor their spread and survival and to help boost the local barbel population.

The fish were stocked in Autumn 2013.

River Rib restoration; the Society has committed funds to a major habitat restoration project on the Rib in Hertfordshire, in partnership with the EA and local fishing clubs and wildlife interests.

Barbel Society Handling Code; with help from film maker Hugh Miles, the Society has produced a DVD  to inform and educate anglers in the safe handling of barbel, which will be provided free to clubs, tackle shops and other outlets, as well as online and on Youtube.

Barbel Society River Records; the Society has purchased the copyright and the large amount of hard copy data gathered over the years by Brian Dowling and Dave Mason, is digitising the files, and aims to maintain the records long term.

Barbel Spawning Survey; the Society is continuing to gather data on spawning activity of barbel nationwide, with some significant data already gathered.


All these activities require funding, which has been provided in the past by the generosity of major tackle manufacturers, tackle shops, fishing clubs, Barbel Society members and the angling community.

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