A project to relocate fish from the Swansea Canal ahead of important dredging works has revealed the huge wealth of protected species that call the waterway home.
Using a technique called ‘electrofishing’, the team – working with Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales – removed almost 2,000 brook lamprey and hundreds of European eels, both of which are legally protected in the UK due to their declining numbers.
Although not navigable by boat, the canal is an important wildlife habitat and water source, as well as a green corridor used by residents, and is the subject of ongoing restoration work aimed at revitalising the waterway. The findings are positive news for the canal, much of which was filled in over the past 50 years.
"There is a great range of wildlife in the Swansea Canal, and now we know just how much some of our protected species rely on it." John Ellis
John Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “There is a great range of wildlife in the Swansea Canal, and now we know just how much some of our protected species rely on it. It shows that even though it’s not connected to the main network, it’s really important to take care of it and the rare species that depend on it.
“Whenever we do any work on the waterways, it’s always a priority to protect the fish that live there. Electrofishing, where we use an electrical current to temporarily stun the fish, allows us to capture and move them humanely. In this case, it has allowed us to complete important work to improve their habitat, so we can hope for rising numbers in future.”