FISH were ‘rescued’ while a section of the Union Canal at Linlithgow was drained as part of a Scottish Canals drive to maintain the 195-year-old waterway, linking Edinburgh with Falkirk and the Forth & Clyde Canal.
In a carefully-regulated and fully-licensed exercise, specialist staff from Manchester-based APEM, used electro-fishing to temporarily stun the fish, allowing them to be netted, put in a tank, and safely released back into a canal section beyond the drainage.
Dr Olivia Lassiere, Scottish Canals heritage and environment manager, oversaw the operation. She said: “By rescuing the fish using this carefully-controlled and humane method, our engineers are able to drain the canal to examine its walls and base for the first time in 40 years. It was vital that the fish were taken care of. We value all the wild life of our waterways in Scotland.”
Project engineer, George McBurnie, said: “We will be removing 30,000 cubic meters of water on this 5km section of the canal. Drainage is via the original bottom plug and, once drained, we will be able to assess accurately what repairs and maintenance are needed. Further drainage this year will include the Slateford and Avon Aqueducts and we will be making sure that all users are kept up to date with the progress of these works and details of the sections that are being closed to allow work to go ahead.”
Members of the public were invited along to the Linlithgow drainage at the Lothian Union Canal Society base to view the electro fishing in action and to view a sample of fish put on display at a temporary tank at the lUCS slipway.