The Old Mere
The Mere was created in the early 1940's due to peat extraction which at the time was used to heat the local houses in the village of Rockland St Peter. The Mere was then left to flood and over the years a wet woodland habitat developed. In 2001 James Harrold bought the Mere and surrounding woodland and after a lot of hard work, time and effort Rocklands Mere Fishery was born.
Being just over an acre in size and full of features, it lends itself perfectly to traditional float fishing tactics. Depths vary from 4 - 6 feet and Norfolk reed, reed mace, broadleaved pondweed and stonewort, not to mention the extensive lily pads provide an excellent habitat for the fish, sadly somewhat of a rarity on many waters today.
Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius)
A cryptic, mainly benthic, freshwater fish, with a long dorsal fin (sans barbs), a rounded forehead and no barbels. Normally of olive golden-brown colour, the pelvic fins are pinkish with the first ray having darker (blackish) pigmentation. Found in freshwater systems, but characteristic of ponds and river backwaters.
History in Norfolk (Copp & Sayer 2009)
The region of Norfolk and northern Suffolk, but excluding the Broads (Ellis 1965), is thought to be a stronghold for C. carassius
Recent research on the distribution of C. carassius in Norfolk (Copp & Sayer 2009, Sayer et al., submitted) has revealed a species occurrence decline of around 80% between the 1970s and 2008–2009 (of 28 ponds known to have contained C. carassius in the 1970s, only five retained the species).
The threats to this species in Norfolk (and neighbouring counties) include:
Genetic contamination through hybridization with introduced varieties of common carp (Cyprinus carpio), including ‘koi’ and ‘chagoi’, which are released into open waters.
Loss of habitat due to river regulation
Changes in agricultural and landuse practices, especially the terrestrialisation of ponds.
A previous lack of recognition of C. carassius as a characteristic pond species.
Rocklands Mere Fishery is working closely with Dr Carl Sayer (University College London) who is responsible for the Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan to save the species from extinction in Norfolk and to provide a habitat in which to enable Crucians to thrive. With careful management of our current pure strain of Crucians as well as re-stocking verified fish from selected sites we aim to develop a fishery which is not only a perfect habitat for this species to regenerate, but enable anglers to enjoy a somewhat forgotten way of fishing for a species sadly dismissed by many anglers today.
Wild Norfolk Crucians being stocked into our breeding pond to conserve the future of the Species.
Crucians being surveyed and harvested from our nursery pond.
Tench & other species
Tench, Perch, Rudd & Roach are also present in the Mere, all of which reach specimen sizes.