Revamp proves quite a catch

By Connie Osborne Friday 10 January 2014 Updated: 10/01 10:07

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Buy photos » Ian McNeil, managing director of MEM Fisheries, and Josh Kirk, fisheries technician, collect fish from the canal. Picture by Marcus Mingins 0214013MMR3.

AN ESTIMATED 23,000 fish have been moved from Tardebigge’s lock as part of a canal restoration programme.

The large scale operation comes as part of essential maintenance works by the Canal and River Trust along the 700 metre flight on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

The scheme, which costs a total of £75,000, will also see the replacement of the gates at lock 58, brickwork repairs to the lock chamber and new paddles for the county’s 200-year-old waterways.

The fish, which included gudgeon, roach, perch and bream, have been carefully caught by experts from MEM Fisheries and placed in the next lock along while the work takes place and the water is drained out.

Ian McNeil, managing director of MEM Fisheries, said: “We have had an impressive amount of fish and a good variety. It is phenomenal how many we have seen.

“These types of fish are intolerant to any form of pollution so that means the quality of the water is very good which is very promising for us to hear.”

He added he believed fish stocks had risen over the years and as part of the rescue he had also seen a number of eels as well as a 32lb pike.

Mark Abraham, construction supervisor for the trust, said: “This restoration work not only improves the lock but also provides us with an inkling of how clean the water actually is in this canal, while giving us a chance to record what species are here and how many.”

Before the water and fish are put back, people are invited to a special open day where they can see what lies beneath the UK’s longest lock flight at the New Wharf on the Alcester Road.

On Saturday, January 18, from 10am until 4pm, residents will have the opportunity to take part in guided tours around the site, walk along the bottom of the lock chamber and see the 200-year-old brickwork and Victorian engineering close up.

Heritage experts will also be giving talks about the history of the area. Sensible footwear should be worn by all visitors and places need to booked. Visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk for more information and to book a place.

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Buy photos» Josh Kirk, fisheries technician for MEM Fisheries, has helped rescue around 23,000 fish from the Tardebigge lock. 0214013MMR1. TOP Ian McNeil, managing director of MEM Fisheries, and Josh Kirk collect fish from the canal 0214013MMR3. Pictures by Marcus Mingins

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