As part of London Rivers Week 2019, the Environment Agency visited Richmond-upon-Thames today showing fish and fish sampling in the Thames. I am currently involved with riverfly monitoring in Beverley Brook which flows into the Thames so it was a fantastic opportunity to see what is in the ‘big sister’. A gammarus – freshwater shrimp was in the kick-sample which we also have in the brook.
As it’s spring, it was fish babies and eel babies today, but they also had a temporary tank from a Thames fish farm. It seems impossible to imagine that these beautiful species in miniature will soon be an eel around 1 metre and a flounder – bigger than my hand span:
They sample in spring and autumn – a mix of core and kick sampling.
The eel has been part of a species recovery project since 2010 and they prefer moving into freshwater rather than staying in the saline estuary at Canvey Island, following their mammoth journey across the Atlantic to/from the Sargasso sea in Bermuda.
The sand-smelt shown in their hands is also part of another species recovery project.
The other fish in the sample included roach, dace, flounder, mullet. During the Thames tidal tunnel sewage project, they found a 60-100cm pike near Victoria.
Biodiversity and Thames wildlife:
There was one piece of plastic in the sample from a cigarette packet today. Unfortunately there is plastic being found in fish as well as the water and there are now conservation projects to help clear and prevent plastic coming into the river: