Chairman Nigel ‘Fennel’ Hudson has written the following message to our members, inviting you to look on your shoot for any pools and ponds that may contain these wonderful creatures, these living relics of our natural history, or might be able to do so in the future.
A new conservation charity, called the Wild Carp Trust, has been established to protect our oldest strains of carp. It seeks to locate, conserve and increase the populations of these incredibly rare strains of fish, many of which have existed in out-of-the-way ponds, pools, moats and lakes for hundreds of years. If you have a water on your estate that contains carp that have been there for generations, or could be used as a conservation or breeding pool for these fish, or perhaps as a fishing pool, then the Wild Carp Trust would like to hear from you.
Nigel Hudson, chairman of the Trust, said: “When people think of a carp, or carp fishing, they often picture bulbous semi-scaled fish pursued by anglers who use all manner of tackle to catch them. It’s heavyweight stuff and not especially genteel. Our heritage carp are very different and encourage a special type of appreciation. These small torpedo-shaped fish, which can be medieval in origin in the UK, rarely exceed ten pounds in weight and look more like brassy-golden scaled koi carp. Because they’re small, they’re often overlooked or disregarded by modern ‘specimen hunting’ anglers. This presents an opportunity and a challenge: good in that these fish have been able to exist undisturbed for centuries; bad if their homes are discovered by anglers seeking ‘biggest is best’ which often leads to the water being stocked with bigger-growing modern carp that crossbreed with the originals and ruin the strain. So the plight of our heritage carp, which is compounded by threats from predation and pollution, is a tricky one – hence the formation of the Wild Carp Trust to protect them.”
The Wild Carp Trust’s goal is to identify where these heritage strains of carp live and how many live there. Then they seek to conserve them by increasing their numbers via breeding programmes, protecting them from predators if required, and educating people about their high value. Finally, once the strains are secure and their numbers have increased, they have amongst their members fly-fishers and traditional anglers who seek to form exclusive fishing syndicates that will treasure these heritage carp and help you to fund and look after the waters that contain them.”
How can you help? Hudson continues: “We’re seeking contact from landowners, estate managers and agents, farmers and gamekeepers, shoot and fishery managers who have a pool that may contain an old strain of carp or, if it contains no carp, could be stocked with a heritage strain so that it becomes either a conservation pool or one where fishing is permitted. We’re especially looking for carp that were stocked hundreds of years ago (the older the better) so that a handful of these fish can be included in our breeding programmes. Their offspring would be stocked into suitable waters to increase their numbers or, should the worst happen, be reintroduced to their donor water if it succumbs to predation. There’s goodwill in the conservation work and potentially a commercial proposition in the breeding or angling programmes. To be able to help us at this early stage would be greatly appreciated.”
For more information, and to contact the Wild Carp Trust, please visit www.wildcarptrust.org. You can also ring Nigel Hudson direct on 07818 634458.