Conservation of the vendace (Coregonus albula), the U.K.’s rarest freshwater fish
Winfield, I.J.; Adams, C.E.; Bean, C.W.; Cameron Durie, N.; Fletcher, J.M.; Gowans, A.R.; Harrod, C.; James, J.B.; Lyle, A.A.; Maitland, P.S.; Thompson, C.; Verspoor, E.
Although also formerly present in two lochs in South West Scotland, populations of vendace (Coregonus albula) were until recently believed to persist in only two U. K. lakes, i. e., Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water in North West England. However, although Derwent Water has retained its natural mesotrophic conditions and the status of its vendace population is acceptable, monitoring at Bassenthwaite Lake has failed to record any specimens since 2000 and the species has recently been declared locally extinct. Bassenthwaite Lake has experienced increasing problems from eutrophication, sedimentation and the introduction of fish species including roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus), both of which have more recently also been introduced to Derwent Water and give concern over possible food competition and egg predation. In addition to monitoring, considerable efforts have been made in recent years to conserve vendace through the protection and improvement of their habitats and the establishment of refuge populations. The latter has resulted in the establishment of a population originating from Bassenthwaite Lake in Loch Skeen of South West Scotland, with further attempts still in progress at two other sites. Public awareness of the conservation of this species, which is the U. K. ’s rarest freshwater fish, has also been actively promoted.