Lakes provide last haven for vendace
Heritage of the wild
So what happened to this silver, streamlined fish, once so abundant in its Scottish sites of Mill Loch and Castle Loch in Dumfries and Galloway that clubs were formed to fish for it, that it could have become the only vertebrate known to have been lost from Scotland in the second part of this century?
Vendace disappeared from Castle Loch after it was used to take the town's sewage effluent in the early part of the century, and from Mill Loch by the 1970s due to gradual nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) of the loch and associated increases in populations of coarse fish which prey upon vendace, its eggs and young. Similar processes threaten to wipe out the two surviving English populations.
Not surprisingly, the vendace numbers among the 116 declining or endangered British animal and plant species for which rescue plans have been proposed by a government committee.
Safeguarding the vendace's remaining natural habitats is the species' best chance of survival.
The British Isles offers only a few sites capable of meeting the fish's need for relatively cool and oxygen-rich water, so English Nature is concentrating its efforts on the maintenance of the two suitably deep lakes with clean inshore areas for spawning, each favoured by tens of thousands of the fish
Scottish Natural Heritage is looking into the feasibility of reintroducing the vendace to south-west Scotland, as close to the original localities as possible. It aims to restore a self-sustaining population to one of the Scottish lochs by 2005 and subsequently to a second if the first is successful.
Vendace typically live for up to six years, by which time they may have attained a length of up to 28cm, and feed off zooplankton. It is widespread in northern Europe, especially Scandinavia where it is the subject of significant commercial fisheries.
The fact that the remaining British vendace have never been heavily exploited by the fisheries, with implications for their population and genetic structures, means that they are of considerable international conservation value.
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group
BNP and EDL accused of attempt to fuel racial hatred after Woolwich terror attack
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.