Caring for our fish

As part of our work as a charity, one of the three key roles of our national fisheries and angling team is to look after the wellbeing of our fish stocks.

Man looking at the health of a fish caught in a net at Manchester, Rochdale Canal Keeping an eye on our fish is important for the health of the waterway ecosystem

The job is wide ranging. From fish rescues during winter works on the canals, to consulting on the design of new fish passes, our team make sure our waterways have healthy fish stocks.

But why is it important to care for our fishy friends? 

  • Fish are a superb indicator of good water quality. Non-anglers like to know that fish are thriving in our waterways. They've improved significantly since the industrial revolution.
  • Fish communities are a vital part of the wider food chain and support iconic species, such as herons, grebes, kingfishers and otters.
  • Fish are a part of the UK’s natural biodiversity. All fish are protected under law, with some species (or their habitat) having extra legal protection because they are critically endangered.
  • Non-native fish species can cause harm to our ecosystems and we work to control their further spread.
  • Some historic navigations inadvertently cut off access for fish upstream to their natural spawning grounds, such as the shad on the River Severn. 
  • Angling and the fish that anglers catch are part of the heritage of our historic waterways.
  • Fish provide a sustainable resource for the sport of angling, which has significant health and wellbeing benefits for its 1 million or so participants. This is why we also encourage people of all ages to try fishing through our Let's Fish! campaign.

So now you know. It's the work of the national angling and fisheries team to make sure our canals and rivers are healthythriving with fish, not just for us humans, but for the abundant wildlife within this beautiful, watery ecosystem. 

Last date edited: 30 June 2021