Herefordshire Hydro


Traditionally holding ponds, mill dams were a source of local fish rearing. Particularly eels and pike. Comments from the authorities as follows:-

Thank you for your enquiry regarding establishing small scale fish farms as part of microhydro projects. We can see no reason why farms cannot be established in this manner but they will need to be operated in line with the Aquatic Animal Health (England & Wales) Regulations 2009 and will also need to meet the requirements of the Environment Agency. Under the Aquatic Animal Health (England & Wales) Regulations 2009 all finfish farms are required to be authorised and any fisheries or cropping waters looking to remove or stock fish are required to be registered.

Further information can be found on the website and if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours Sincerely Richard Gardiner
From Robert Packham, Fish Health Inspector, Cefas
In answer to your question:

“What would be the position of a mill or hydropower site owner with a holding pond if they also used the pond for rearing fish for sale? Has anyone recently examined the old monastic system of re-cycling food waste, by having a pike fish pond [luce in stew] near the kitchen, into which were thrown the kitchen scraps. The pike ate them, and were in turn caught and eaten by the monks?”

This question throws up several different queries
If a mill or hyrdopower facility wished to rear fish for sale they would have to authorise the site as an aquaculture production business with Cefas, this would have to be after consent was granted by the Environment Agency to continue after ecological impact assessment and species farmed was examined.
The second part of the question refers to feeding the fish waste products. This query in this day and age throws up several points.
I think in reality that carp were farmed more so than pike, carp being mainly herbivorous would have been able to digest vegetable waste from the monastic gardens and convert it into protein to supplement the monks diets, indeed the term ‘monk’ is still used nowadays in modern farming practices for the structures that allow the ponds to be drained and harvested.
The feeding of ‘waste’ products into a pond may cause water quality issues which could kill or reduce the growth of fish.
Pike being a predator would require a more protein based diet and would therefore be less likely to be farmed and indeed unless the waste was fish based the resulting growth rates would be poor. More likely what would have happened was that waste was fed to herbivorous fish which were then predated by the pike.
With regard to this practice nowadays I think that the farming method is not particularly viable given the constraints of modern life and competition from other sectors, however there is one farm that is farming organic carp for the table but the diet fed to the carp is greatly constrained in order to meet organic status and also Food standard agency requirements.
I hope this answers your questions
Yours Sincerely Rob Packham
Fish Health Inspector, Cefas
Weymouth Laboratory,
Barrack Road,
The Nothe,
Weymouth,Dorset.DT4 8UB
Tel: +44 (0)1305 206676
Mob: +44 (0)7769882716

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