Review by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown
Whilst it may seem a strange book to be reviewing in the photography section of Scubaverse, underwater photography in freshwater lakes, rivers and streams, has become far more popular than it was in the last few years. The publication of this book, along with the work that Paul Colley has been doing with his remotely fired underwater cameras, has certainly made a few people pay attention to the wildlife that lives in our freshwater habitats.
The book is very reasonably priced at £16.99 and its finish and presentation is what you would expect in a book published by Reed New Holland. The book is full of great images that must have taken time and dedication to capture, as there are some 56 species covered in these pages. The content of the book is made up with a dedication, a forward, an introduction and a short guide to fish twitching. Most of the fish that you are likely to see in UK waters are covered, including a few oddities and variants, which Jack talks about towards the end of the book. Jack also talked about fish conservation and how most of our rivers are in very poor condition with only 17% of them classified as being in good health. Pollution is a major threat to fish, and this includes the oils and toxins that are washed off the road, the pesticides and herbicides that are leached into the rivers off agricultural land and micro-plastics and contraceptives flushed into the water supply which alters the biology of the fish. He also talks about invasive species, such as Signal Crayfish, which devour the eggs and fry of our native fish.
The book is well-written and all species are illustrated with at least one photograph and includes a brief description of the species, including details of the main distinguishing features habitat and breeding habits. The book is also littered with interesting facts about many of the individual species, such as why the Tench is sometimes called the doctor fish.
The book is an easy read by a wildlife photographer who has written and photographically illustrated dozens of articles for magazines such as BBC wildlife. He is a lecturer at Nottingham University for the MSc biological photography and image course so you can assume the knowledge he is passing on to the readers is well researched. I come for one, really enjoyed reading this book and it has inspired me to get my underwater photography gear into some freshwater streams.
Freshwater Fishes of Britain by Jack Perks is published by Reed New Holland at £16.99, hardback, and available from all good bookshops, Amazon or call 01206-255777.