The vendace, a rare Ice Age fish, may have disappeared from one of its two remaining habitats in England.

A recent survey by Dr. Ian Winfield of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology found no evidence of the vendace (coregonus vandesius) in Bassenthwaite Lake. The fish was, however, recently spotted in nearby Derwentwater. The Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Programme is also trying to establish a third population in Scotland's Loch Skene.

According to previous research (PDF) by Winfield, Bassenthwaite Lake has faced a rise in silt from land erosion, a depletion of oxygen in its waters, and the introduction of several alien fish species, all of which have hurt the vendace population.

The vendace is Britain's rarest freshwater fish. It is legally protected in Britain, although it does not year appear on the more international IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

Story by John Platt. This article originally appeared in Plenty in January 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008