Back at my blog after an outing. Chris and I were away a whole 30 hours, our first time leaving the farm together, and our first child-free outing since Caiti was small!

We went to Mayenne, to another Angling Lines fishing holiday venue, Oakview Lake, run by Martin and Shirley Barker, to witness fish being microchipped. Seriously. Oakview Lake is lovely with an island in the middle, which Chris covets! It was a great day and a bit out, the only downside being that none of the 50+ photos I took have come out. There’s nothing at all on the card in the camera. No idea what happened there, and disappointed as I’d taken some lovely photos.

There’s a small stock pond and we watched this being netted by Michel Bigot’s pisciculture team of Laurent and Emrick. This procedure is known as sennage.

A net is spread all round the perimeter of the lake and then slowly dragged in so that all the fish are forced into the second net, la poche, which is fixed behind this net. The poche is pulled to the bank and iron rods are put in to hold it in place. Then the fish can be lifted out for examining, sorting, chipping etc.

A team of four had come down from the UK to demonstrate the microchipping. Roy, Rich, Chris and Joanne were very organised and efficient. Roy showed us the equipment – a small ‘gun’ and rice-grain sized chip which comes premounted in a sterile needle.

This picture is from www.bruno-broughton.co.uk.

The chip is inserted about 7 cm below the dorsal fin. The needle is slipped under the skin and, keeping just below it, pushed in to its full extent and ‘fired’ twice which puts the chip in position. A dab of bonjela as anti-septic and the job is done. The chip is then read with the scanner to check it’s operational. The fish has forgotten all about the proces by the time it goes back into the water!

This picture from Angling Lines

The point of microchipping fish is for managing them – monitoring growth and health – and also for security. The process was first used for koi carp, ornamental fish, which can be very valuable and subject to theft. Smuggling happens with ordinary carp too. A 40+ lb carp is worth more than one thousand euros.

We’ll be chipping our fish in stages – and a bit later in the year. Emrick and Laurent spent a cold February morning in waders and tee-shirts netting the fish. I’m not quite up for that!

Laurent