LETTER: Super-fit sea trout return annually to the Ouse

While your reporting on this quite shocking incident is much appreciated, I do rather feel that as yet the real significance may not have reached your readers.

The sea trout of the Ouse catchment attain larger sizes than do most other UK stocks, and unlike their salmon relatives which only survive but one spawning after returning from the sea to the river to breed then die, our super-fit species can successfully return annually up to five times over their life span.

How can I claim this?

Well, I once worked in the Ministry of Fisheries’ freshwater research laboratory, Perhaps more importantly I had already been captivated by the angling on the Sussex Ouse, which I had started back in the 1950s. (My Grammar School teachers often wondered where I was off playing truant – now they can know !)

However, that happy period of my life was spoilt by those summers when many sea trout were trapped in the warming water of their main fishing pool at Barcombe Mills with slow deaths then following via the ulcerating disease furunculosis.

This lamentable situation arose via a negligent combination of the Ouse Preservation Society and local farmers demanding that water be held back uncompromisingly for upstream agricultural benefits.

Yet all that was needed was a temporary overnight opening of the sluice gate in and out the main pool.

But would they?

No, and the needless loss of these splendid fish continued unabated over each hot summer; shame on them.

I am now tempted to recognise another farming linkage with the recent Plumpton Agricultural College incident.

All credit to the cash depleted Environment Agency for pointing out the flaws in the college’s feeble explanation, and their eight previous pollution incidents.

Now please at least prosecute them within your statutory duties.

As for the college, well heads should roll, from the principal down!

The Ouse was once fortunate to have probably their finest river bailiff who hailed from Wales’ River Conway, from whence the UK record sea trout was once caught.

He stated quite openly that in his professional opinion the UK record would be beaten by the Ouse’s genetic stock.

Doubtlessly he is turning over in his grave now.

If he reads the Sussex Express, to his memory I humbly offer my apologies.

Dr. Keith Corbett, MBE

Lee Way, Newhaven