Wildlife - Fish, Rats and Bats
The most common fish are Grey Mullet, which spawn in the pond. There are three species of mullet - the majority that populate the Pond are of the “thin lipped” variety. Eels can also be seen.
Other fish species recorded include:
Salmon, Brown Trout (& occasional Rainbow), Sea bass, Sea bream, Roach, Flatfish, Sticklebacks, Shrimps & Prawns.
The Pond is in addition a nursery area for fish such as Flounder, Sand Smelt and Goby.
The SMPPA Fishing Policy is complicated by bye-laws over and above national policies. The rules affecting the Pond fall between the fresh water and sea fishing rules. The Pond is technically a saline lagoon and not a fresh water pond or ‘enclosed still waters’ as defined by the Environment Agency. Whilst it is possible to impose a “No Fishing” policy as the Pond is in private ownership, achieving this would be unrealistic. There are complications as, for instance, Bass and Mullet are classified as 'sea' fish, others are freshwater fish and subject to different levels of protection.
Confrontational individuals will probably be fully aware of the intricacy of the legal framework and able to provoke abusive situations. Accepting responsible fishing that respects the public, wildlife and the environment has been successful in the past, and a demeanour of negotiation rather than confrontation has given better long term results.
The fishing policy we currently have in place is therefore “tolerance” and “sensible” behaviour. Over the years we have had problems with generations of youths swimming in our pond. On many occasions they have become unruly, upsetting local residents and involving the constabulary. We eventually discovered that the presence of men fishing has a much more deterrent effect so the ”No fishing” rule is not enforced, especially in light of the complications of the legal position.
Cormorant catches an Eel
Access to a river, stream, lake or any other freshwater body does not automatically allow one the right to fish in it. The owner of the land adjoining a natural river or stream owns the exclusive fishing rights (called, Riparian Rights) up to the middle of the water. Owners are subject to the general laws protecting close seasons for fish (Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 etc).
In the sea the public has rights to fish below the mean high water mark, either from the bank (assuming there is public access) or by boat. Bye-laws and Fisheries Acts do not allow fixed netting north of the Chichester Bar.
Cast Net Fishing is illegal and started happening regularly in 2021 in the Pond and also in the water south of the tidal gates – probably fishing for bait to sell. The Rural Crime Squad and EA want to eradicate this type of fishing and have asked us to report it by calling 999 quoting crime number 935 and the date, stating that the call is for the Rural Crime Squad. If you feel able and safe to do so, they have asked us to video the perpetrators while using the cast net. Since the police have been involved, this fishing seems to have ceased.
More details can be found in our Fishing Policy
Rats & Water Voles
Water voles have been well recorded in the past, and are present in Brook Meadow, but have not been seen by the Pond in recent years.
Sadly the most flourishing mammal has been the rat, possibly encouraged by well-meaning but over-generous feeders of bread to the ducks and swans.
A local ecologist conducted a bat survey (see map to right) in May 2021 and recorded three species – common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and noctule bats. They were foraging and commuting along Slipper Road. She has also picked up a Myotis bat near the mill; there are several species of Myotis bat in the UK and it can be difficult to tell them apart by their calls alone but it is most likely Brandt’s or whiskered.
Common and soprano pipistrelles are quite common and small species of bats. They are crevice dwellers, opting for roosts in buildings such as small gaps under roof tiles or hanging tiles. Common pips forage over a range of habitats but show a preference for deciduous woodland, while soprano pips tend to prefer riparian habitats. Noctule is a large species of bat which roosts predominately in trees, using gaps such as woodpecker holes. They forage out in the open over trees.
Several of the houses along Slipper Road have bat roosts as there are lots of nice roof and hanging tiles. A useful website is www.bats.org.uk which has information on bat boxes and how to encourage bats.