Rare fish added to Welsh lakes

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More than 2,000 fish have been recently added into two lakes in Wales in a continuing effort to save the endangered Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), one of Britain's rarest freshwater fishes.

Eight hundred fish hatched and reared were added to Llyn Padarn in Llanberis, Gwynedd on October 17. A day later, another 1,600 were added to Llyn Crafnant, near Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley to boost numbers there.

This stocking adds to the 1,800 fish already present in the Llyn Padarn and to the 800 fish already released to the Llyn Crafnant last year (which was reported by Practical Fishkeeping here: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=3358), and the 5,000 fish released earlier this year.

The fish, also known as the Torgoch, has been the subject of conservation efforts by the Environment Agency Wales (EAW) and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) for the last three years.

Only 800 fish are being reintroduced to Llyn Pardan, following advice from fisheries experts in order to reduce the risk of inbreeding. The reintroduced fish have had their adipose fins clipped to enable anglers to identify their catch as a stocked fish.

According to David Edwell, EAW area manager, "The Arctic charr need a good habitat to thrive. Setting up the secondary population is a safety net - but we are determined to find a way to improve the conditions at Llyn Padarn so they can continue to inhabit the lake.

"We also want to thank the owners of Llyn Crafnant for allowing us to create this secondary population of Arctic charr.

"Charr are a unique and threatened species in north Wales and we are determined to protect them. This work relies heavily on our partners, the companies we regulate and the goodwill of the landowners for allowing us to use their lake for this vital work."

Added director of north region for CCW, Tim Jones: "CCW is happy to have provided funding towards this work. The Artic charr is an important element of the ecology of Llyn Padarn and this release together with the introduction at Llyn Crafnant should help ensure that the species have a more secure future."

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