Reintroduction of Burbot

The burbot, a freshwater predatory cod, is to be reintroduced into the freshwater habitats of UK after half a century.


It is the only cod fish that lives in freshwater habitats. It resembles a tadpole and lives at the bottom of rivers. It is also known as the lingcod or the eelpout. Though it prefers riverine habitats, it moves to pools and ponds to spawn.

Disappearance of Burbot

The burbot fish was last sighted in 1969 in the British rivers. They were often caught by anglers over 50 years ago. It is reported that the species disappeared due to intensive agricultural practices and metal pollution during the World War II period. Loss of preferred habitat like flooded areas, back channels and rivers with naturally ‘messy’ edges are also contributors to the disappearance.

The Reintroduction Project

The fish is being reintroduced under the sponsorship of Nature England, the nature conservation watchdog of the British government. After verifying the habitats for burbot DNA to determine if any undetected individuals had survived, the fishes will be reintroduced. The young fishes will first be raised in captivity and then released into the wild as they have high mortality rates.

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