Skip to main content


Title: Fish found in the tidal Thames
Author: Environment Agency Thames Region
Document Type: Monograph
The River Thames once supported commercial fisheries of considerable economic importance. Smelt from the Thames were plentiful at Billingsgate; 30 or 40 boats working between Wandsworth and Hammersmith might catch 50,000 in a day. Thames shads, flounders, eels and whitebait were caught for food and over one million lamperns were sold annually to Dutch fishermen for use as bait. Even the occasional sturgeon was taken in the tideway. Some of this fishing has been going on for a very long time as illustrated by study of the archaeology of the tidal foreshore, financially supported by the Environment Agency, which found the remains of Bronze Age fish traps at several locations. At the beginning of the nineteenth century increased pollution and loss of habitat combined to destroy these fisheries, so in the 1950s a mammoth scheme was begun to rebuild and extend Londons major sewage treatment works and improve the water quality of the river. The scheme took over 20 years to complete, during which time the Greater London Council and the Thames Water Authority carried through the project wrhich, at present day prices cost some 200 million. Further details of the improvement in water quality are detailed in the Environment Agency Leaflet: 'Fact File: The Tidal ThamesThis Environment Agency leaflet shows fish species found in the Thames Estuary.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Publication Date: [after 1996]
Publication Place: Reading
Subject Keywords: RiversFishesEstuaries
Geographic Keywords: ThamesThames EstuaryThames (tidal) catchment
Extent: n.p. [9]
Total file downloads: 321

Download PDF    Display PDF in separate tab