The crucian carp - not something that is instantly associated with the British countryside, but this little slab of gold is our only native carp and one which we need to help protect. Unlike other species of carp which most of us are familiar with (common, mirror, leather and grass), the crucian is much smaller and much more secretive.
Carp arrived on British shores in the 1600s. They were reared in monastery ponds for food - the Friday fish of the monks. The carp eventually escaped from the monastery ponds into other waterways, leading to interspecies breading of crucian carp and native carp, which has now resulted in us losing the true, hardy and disease resistant crucian.
The crucian has an amazing ability to survive in the harshest of northern hemisphere weather - this is one of the main reasons it needs protecting. With other species of carp becoming increasingly popular to stock in lakes and ponds, our native crucian is now an endangered species.
The Crucian Carp Conservation Project (CCCP) has been set up in association with The Environment Agency, Natural England and DEFRA in order to try and project the species. Funnily enough, the CCCP does not fall into Wales. However, we have taken it upon ourselves to dedicate one of our three pools to the protection of crucian carp.
Covered with lillies, reeds, and deep holes, and fed by a natural spring, the bottom pool is the perfect environment for the crucians. In order to create a balanced ecosystem, we have also introduced green tench to the pool as well. Tench are known as doctor fish and have an ability to heal other fish by rubbing their antibiotic slime onto neighbouring fish.
We are confident that the crucians and the tench will get on well in their new home. We will be keeping you updated on the progress and fingers crossed, in the springtime we might be luckily enough to have some baby crucians and tench!