Large numbers of dead fish mean a delay to fishing season at Priory Country Park main lake

Approximately 300 bream have died in the main lake a Priory Country Park

The start of this year’s fishing season at Priory Country Park lake has been delayed following an investigation by the Environment Agency after an unusually large number of dead bream were found.

It has been decided that the start of the fishing season needs to be delayed for the main lake only this year until at least 1 July 2021.

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed that all other areas of the ticketed fishery remain open and map boards are around the site showing the areas where fishing is permitted.

No specific cause found

After the Council became aware of approximately 300 bream dying at Priory Country Park they notified the Environment Agency.

Tests have been carried out and to date, no specific cause has been found relating to increased fish fatality numbers.

Water quality tests do show high levels of oxygen in the water, and low levels of ammonia, algae and other potentially problematic microscopic plants.

It is currently thought that it may be due to low spring temperatures earlier this year, which could have caused issues with the bream spawning and then having an impact on the health of the fish.

The lake at Priory Country Park. Image:

Paul Wilkanowski, fisheries & biodiversity officer at the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency has been investigating a fish mortality at Priory Country Park lake since early May and advising Bedford Borough Council who own the lake

“So far no obvious cause has been identified. Cold temperatures in May is a potential factor. Increasing water temperatures coinciding with the fish spawning period can often cause stress-related issues.

“Until the situation improves we have advised the Council to keep the lake closed.”

Cllr Charles Royden, portfolio holder for environment at Bedford Borough Council said: “With the fishing season at Priory due to start on 16 June, and high level of bream mortality being seen – with estimates that 300 bream have died – it is only right that we delay the start of the season to limit the impact on our fish population.

“We will be monitoring the situation closely, along with the Environment Agency, keeping local anglers informed with any developments.”

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.