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Home / Sporting Events / Fishing / Galloway Fisheries Trust study finds fish stocks thriving in Loch Ken despite crayfish

Galloway Fisheries Trust study finds fish stocks thriving in Loch Ken despite crayfish

Reports of the death of Loch Ken have been greatly exaggerated, according to a new study.

It had been feared non–native signal crayfish were ruining the fishery by eating fish eggs and fry.

But a new Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) study found stocks of perch, dace, pike and other species remain healthy.

The findings are a major boost for Loch Ken’s reputation as a top coarse fishing destination.

New Galloway Angling Association chairman John McCubbing said: “This is positive news, without a doubt. Loch Ken has great fishing and is available for everybody, young and old.

“The association can use this report to publicise the quality of the fishing that is present.”

In one surprise finding, the report noted crayfish themselves were being preyed on by other fish.

Perch in particular were scoffing the mini–lobsters – with older fish growing faster and bigger than elsewhere.

Mr McCubbing said: “Perch are the vacuum cleaners of the loch – they hoover things up. They move in shoals and devour everything including young crayfish.

“Perch and other fish are getting bigger so there’s actually a benefit to the crayfish being there.”

He added: “Even in the River Ken the trout are eating them. When you clean them the guts are full of crayfish shells.”

The GFT study found Loch Ken continues to be a popular fishery with visiting anglers, particularly from England.

Most stated they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their angling experience on the loch.

Crayfish were seen as a problem – but mainly through latching on to anglers’ bait.

The study was commissioned by Galloway Glens Partnership (GGP) to assess fish populations, economic benefits of angling and crayfish impacts on the loch.

Project officer Nick Chisholm said: “Loch Ken is one of coarse angling’s best kept secrets.

“The presence of crayfish is not ideal, but this report illustrates a healthy and self-sustaining fishery.”

Recommendations on developing Loch Ken as an important coarse fishing destination include better promotion and increased accessibility, regular monitoring of fish populations and a five–year management plan.

Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and GGP funded and managed the study.

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