Sexyloops - 9 million bicycles in Beijing, 440 million shrimp in Grafham

9 million bicycles in Beijing, 440 million shrimp in Grafham

9 million bicycles in Beijing, 440 million shrimp in Grafham

Tracy&James | Thursday, 10 November 2016

Upon hearing Katie Melua singing about there being “9 million bicycles in Beijing” I’ve often found myself wondering about the sampling method she’d used to determine her statistic. Did she survey the sales records of local cycling outfitters, assess the second hand market and determine some sort of scrappage rate? Or did she actually count bikes out on a representative sample of the streets and extrapolate the results to the whole metropolitan area? Perhaps she just made up the figure, we all know that 78.4% of statistics are made up on the spot, including this one. Whichever it is I can similarly declare, with an identical (if not better) confidence level as Katie, that there are 440 million ‘killer’ shrimp in Grafham!

As Paul mentioned on Monday, a group of us fished Grafham Water on Sunday.  Tracy and I had never fished this venue before so we did a bit of internet research beforehand to familiarise ourselves with the reservoir, its known ‘fishy’ areas and the latest catch reports.  The information gathered proved to be pretty useless when, upon arrival, we were greeted with very strong winds, a sudden drop in temperature from previous days and the forecast of heavy rain arriving in the afternoon.  I’m not one for automatically choosing the easy option with regard to casting, however whilst enjoying breakfast and watching the white-capped waves hitting the stone causeway and the flags never dropping from a vertical position, Tracy and I decided that, even with the #7 weight outfits we’d packed, we’d look for some shelter on the upwind bank.


Obviously everyone else had the same idea as the banks from the visitors centre anticlockwise to the north were pretty full.  This was exacerbated by a local club also holding a bank competition that day – these guys were keen to get on with things as we met them charging out of the car park as we arrived, some of them choosing to drive the wrong way down a one-way road straight at us.  I guess they knew that ‘comfortable’ fishing spots were going to be at a premium and they needed to stake their claim sharpish.  We did eventually find a nice looking, uninhabited bay after a 25 minute walk – it was here that we met Paul, Ashley, Sean and Peter who explained that there was another car parking area just 150m away!

It was in this bay that I determined the number of the non-native ‘killer’ shrimp that have infested Grafham.  This wasn’t groundbaiting as others have suggested, it was counting.  That the fish came in to feed after I had surveyed under the rocks was purely coincidental.  The numbers of shrimp present was both impressive and worrying at the same time.  They’ve clearly found the conditions to their liking and have thrived, I assume at the expense of other native species – how’s the rest of the insect life doing?  


From my sampling and extrapolation I confidently arrived at my calculation for the total number; 442,801,665 shrimps (yes, I’ve accounted for the ones that got eaten during the study).  You can have just as much faith in this figure as in other, more thorough and expensive polls such as those conducted before Brexit, the UK general Election, yesterday’s US presidential vote etc.  It was arrived at via proper scientific methodology and must be correct, so up yours Melua and your shoddy guesswork (does Katie read Sexyloops?  I suspect she’s a lurker).


On a final note, it felt a little bit ironic when signing the form at the Grafham lodge to say that we understood the bio-security hazards associated with the shrimp infestation and that we’d take appropriate measures to clean down our waders, nets etc. after fishing.  After fishing for non-native rainbow trout that is…

All the best, James.