Following news during the 2009/2010 season of the capture of Wels catfish from the river at Hamsey the Society has been in contact with the Environment Agency (EA) concerning the legal position of returning catfish to the river following capture.
Since 2009/2010 OAPS permit holders have caught and removed more catfish up to weights in excess of 10lbs.
Although the capture of catfish is not yet covered by the EA’s national fishery byelaws it is likely to be included in 2010 following consultation being undertaken at the moment (click here to view the consultation). It is, however, illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to return a catfish to a river. Anglers are required to either kill any non-native species they catch or, preferably, contact the EA who will collect and remove them for relocation.
Telephone numbers for the EA are either 0800 80 70 60 (Emergency Hotline) or 01903 703886 (during office hours only for the local EA Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Team).
The following is a list of fish and other non-native species, taken from schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, that anglers might come into contact with and which should not be returned to the river if captured – those known to be, or have been, present in the Sussex Ouse are shown as bold and underlined. Click on the name for further information…
- Bass, Large-mouthed Black (Micropterus salmoides).
- Bass, Rock (Ambloplites rupestris).
- Bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus).
- Pumpkinseed – also known as Sun-fish or Pond-perch (Lepomis gibbosus).
- Wels – also known as European catfish (Silurus glanis).
- Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca).
- Crayfish, Signal (Pacifastacus leniusculus) – Added to schedule 9 in 1992.
- Terrapin, European Pond (Emys orbicularis) – See note below…
The European Pond Terrapin should not be confused with the North American Red Eared Terrapin which HAS been seen in the Sussex Ouse. Although the Red Eared Terrapin is an ‘undesirable’ species in the river, it is not on the list of non-native species contained within the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The Society’s rule requiring all coarse fish to be returned to the river dead OR alive does not, of course, apply to non-native species.