The Medway is the largest marine protected area in the UK. It covers 4.6 square miles of saltmarsh and mudflat environments which are vital for the survival of many fish species, providing them with shelter from predators and storms and an abundance of prey for them to feed on.
The no-take zone
The Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery (ROFF) established Medway’s no-take zone in 2015, which was later backed by Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority by the creation of the River Medway Nursery Area (Prohibition of Fishing) Byelaw. But no monitoring has been possible since then to establish the extent to which it has been successful.
Fish of the Medway project
The project will gather data over a complete year to assess variances in fish behaviour across the seasons in order to illustrate the current condition of the Medway estuary and its fisheries. In partnership with the Environment Agency, Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries Committee, ROFF, Institute of Fisheries Management, and Medway Council, the project will start monitoring in 2022.
“ROFF are very pleased to be engaged in supporting this venture and look forward to being part of this project in particular reviewing and evaluating the monitoring results.
“This data will be compared with past surveys and, as a result, the information gathered will enable Medway’s management to understand how and where they can sustainably operate, thereby saving jobs or creating more if further improvements are required. We hope our findings and conclusions can be used in other UK or worldwide estuaries, providing a local case study for effective estuary management.”Richard Turner
The volunteers will also be investigating the man-made habitat created on the Medway during the developments along the river.
You can find out more about the fish of the Medway project from the Living River Foundation