Could you kill a zander?
AZander (Sander lucioperca) are an introduced and naturalised species, first successfully introduced into the UK back in 1878, when 23 of the 24 fish gifted to the Duke of Bedford by the President of the German Fishery Association survived an arduous journey across Europe before being stocked in lakes at Woburn Park.
From this small, and seemingly insignificant, beginning, the spread of British zander began, with the most infamous introduction that of 97 fingerlings into the Great Ouse Relief Channel in 1963. Deemed at the time by some river board officials to be ‘a stillwater from which they could not escape.’
The spread of zander throughout Fenland has been well documented by many authors, most notably Neville Fickling and the late Barrie Rickards, and a population explosion occurred throughout the 1970s and 1980s, which has led to the species being relatively widespread throughout river systems, from the Thames to the Severn, and the Warwickshire Avon to the Trent. Additional spread into canals, reservoirs and stillwaters linked to the river systems has also taken place, and indeed further afield both by legal and illegal transfers. The only areas of the UK not currently housing populations of zander are Scotland and West Wales.
Zander, as a non-native, are deemed to be an ILFA species, which means their introduction is governed by the Import of Live Fish Act 1980, and so a licence is required to introduce them, and a permit to keep them in inland waters. It is an offence to introduce or to keep an ILFA species without the requisite paperwork and, as the law currently stands, it is an offence to return a zander, or indeed any non-native species, to a water that does not hold a permit.
Some organisations, and the Canal & River Trust is one, are granted a permit on the condition that they actively remove zander, and also encourage anglers to remove zander. Indeed, they regularly electrofish and cull