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'Alien' fish to be removed from Wirral fishery
WORK is underway to remove a dangerous species of "alien" fish from a Wirral fishery.
The Environment Agency decided to act after thousands of Topmouth Gudgeon were found in the pond at Larton Livery Fishery in Frankby.
Measuring between eight to 10 centimetres when fully grown, they are members of the carp family and appeared in mainland Europe in the 1960s.
The Environment Agency says the fish are a threat to Larton’s native fish stock.
Today specialist teams will remove the native stock and treat the gudgeon with a poison known as piscicide.
The native fish will be stored at its the Environment Agency's depot in Winsford while the work is carried and will be returned to Larton.
Steve Powell, the Environment Agency's Strategic Fisheries Specialist, said Topmouth Gudgeons increase the risk of diseases for native fish and are known to eat their eggs and larvae.
He told the Globe this morning: "There are large numbers of these things. They are not very big, anywhere between eight and 10 centimetres when a fully grown adult, but they’re prolific and that's where the problem is.
"They outcompete native species and will very quickly take over a water body.
"They breed up to four times a year, and very quickly outcompete native species for food and habitat.
"When the females lay their eggs, males then guard them and egg survival rates are very high.
"They potential carry parasites that native fish would not be able to survive against.
"The main thing is they are very successful in UK waters and can go from nothing at all to being prolific pest species.
"We are here to get them out and reduce the risk to the environment.
"We gave Larton Livery's owner some fishery management advice last summer when we noticed stocks of this particular breed were high and began to plan the operation."
On the operation to remove the Topmouths, Bill Titley, owner of Larton Livery said: "It's a good thing and needed to be done. because they are parasitic fish.
“They originate from Japan, but we don’t know how they got here. They could have been just transferred on people’s fishing nets or tackle.
"The Environment Agency is working its way through about 20 places like this in the country. Hopefully, this operation will see the end of them in this country."