Unusual fish found in Cornwall rivers

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A survey carried out on two Cornish estuaries has uncovered some unusual fish.

Among the recorded species on the Fal and Camel estuaries are Gilthead bream, Sparus aurata, Norwegian topknot, Phrynorhombus norvegicus, and seahorses.

The Environment Agency believes that the presence of these fish is an indicator that both estuaries are in a healthy condition.

The surveys, which have been on-going for a year, are being carried out as part of the European Water Framework Directive s ~State of the Environment study. So far a total of 43 species have been recorded on the Fal, with 32 species being recorded on the Camel.

Mullet, bass, gobies, dragonets, sprats, wrasse, blennies, sea-scorpions, rays, sand smelt sandeels, lesser weever, and various species of pipefish have also featured in the extensive survey.

The large variety of fish recorded indicates that both estuaries are in a healthy condition. Long term monitoring provides unique and valuable information and will give us a much better understanding of these nationally important estuaries, Rob Hillman, of the Environment Agency said.

The discovery of unusual species such as Norwegian topknot and gilthead bream is especially encouraging.

Shallow-draught boats have been used to access otherwise difficult parts of the estuaries so that the team are able to set their seine nets, while larger vessels have been used in deeper sections. The scientists hope to use a small hovercraft to collect samples from more inaccessible areas.

Seaweed and invertebrate studies are also being carried out to assess the impact of chemical pollution on the estuaries.