British Wildlife 29.3 February 2018

Is the Vendace, Britain’s rarest freshwater fish, on the brink of extinction?

The Vendace is an enigmatic species of fish, and few people are aware of its existence. In the UK, this ice-age relict survives at only two natural sites, both in the Lake District. Although the Vendace population has recently increased at these sites, the species faces numerous threats to its survival. It is hoped, however, that careful work by organisations such as the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will protect and improve the habitat quality in these lakes, and allow the Vendace to thrive.

During a fish survey in Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria, in 2013, a single young Vendace Coregonus albula was unexpectedly caught in one of the nets. After a 12-year absence, during which it was thought to be extinct at this site, the Vendace had returned. The elusive, mysterious Vendace remains unknown to many, despite the fact that it has been present in Britain since the last ice age.

Editorial Through a naturalist’s eyes
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