Fish relocated to boost canal
3:25pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
Thousands of fish have been taken from the Kennet and Avon Canal in Devizes to a new home more than 100 miles away.
About 50,000 fish were removed from the Caen Hill flight of the canal last week by the Canal & River Trust and rehomed on a stretch of the Erewash Canal in Nottinghamshire.
The fish, mainly roach, perch and bream, were temporarily stunned with a low electric pulse from a probe before being carefully netted and transported to Nottinghamshire by vehicles with specially oxygenated water tanks.
The Canal & River Trust, which is responsible for the canals, said Caen Hill traditionally has high levels of fish because the water quality and living conditions are good.
Removing fish from there helps to maintain an ecologicial balance, which is important for dragonflies, damselflies and aquatic plants, the trust said.
The Erewash Canal suffered a serious pollution incident last September after a major fire at the Stanton Ironworks. Pollutants from the works leaked into the canal, causing oxygen levels to decline suddenly, and hundreds of fish died.
The Canal & River Trust rescued about 90 per cent of fish affected and relocated them to other parts of the canal untouched by the pollution.
The fish taken from Caen Hill will restore the fish population and ensure a more even spread of fish along the length of the canal.
The fish were taken from the side ponds at Caen Hill, which were originally designed 200 years ago as holding tanks to store the water needed to operate the flight due to the steepness of the terrain.
Oda Dijksterhuis, ecologist at the trust, said: “Species like roach and perch are already in good numbers on the Kennet and Avon Canal and this activity will not only help to restore the fish population on the Erewash following last year’s serious pollution incident but will also help to maintain biodiversity at Caen Hill.
“We have carried out similar relocation projects in the last three or four years at Caen Hill. The results have been fantastic for other aquatic wildlife, with water clarity improving significantly and various rare and special water creatures as well as aquatic plants, such as potamogetons and hornworts, returning that we haven’t seen in the canal for years.”