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Fish rescue on Trent and Mersey
FISH are being rescued in their tens of thousands after September storms caused an dramatic breach of a Northwich canal.
A mission of mercy has been staged by the Canal and River Trust to rescue the fish stranded on either side of the collapse of the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Workers have moved up to 45,000 fish, weighing a total of 2,200lb, just from one side of the breach.
Carl Nicholls, fisheries and angling manager for the trust, said: “We initially thought that a number of fish might have gone down with the breach into the fields but on investigating we’ve found only a small number of fish actually went down.
“They naturally swim against the flow so as water levels dropped they naturally stayed in the canal.”
He explained that they needed to be moved from the shallow waters left behind and put back into the canal system because of the risk of frost and predators.
A procedure called electrofishing is being used to rescue the fish, which include carp, bream and roach.
Electrofishing involves putting electrodes into the water which stun fish within a 3ft field, making them turn on their sides so they can be seen more easily by the silver flash on their underside.
They can then be scooped up from the water using fishing nets, transferred into buckets and carried back to the main canal system.
This method is more suitable for the canal network than drag nets because of the amount of debris at the bottom of the canal.
The breach happened in a stretch of the Trent and Mersey Canal near Dutton in the early hours of September 26.
Workers for the Canal and River Trust dammed the canal at Bartington Wharf and at the Lodge Lane canal bridge, in Dutton.
- For more information about donating to the Canal and River Trust visit canalrivertrust.org.uk/breach.
The trust has also set up a text donation line to give £5 – simply text BREACH to 70800.