A project to open up miles of the river Severn and its major tributary will enable fish to reach spawning grounds, helping threatened and declining species.
The scheme has attracted £19.4m in funding and will open the UK’s longest river to many of the fish species which have vanished from the upper reaches of the river after weirs were installed in the 1800s to improve access for increasing volumes of traffic on the river during the industrial revolution.
The project will involve the construction of five fish passes on the Severn, with a further two on the river Teme to open up 150 miles of the two rivers providing valuable access to the spawning grounds which the species need. This will be particularly beneficial to twaite and allis shad, which were both favoured at the court of Henry III, and will also be beneficial to other declining species such as the salmon and the European eel.
Dr. David Lambert, UK General Manager of FGS commented: “Efforts to provide opportunities for fish to reach spawning grounds are to be encouraged. Much of the research undertaken at FGS is directed towards conservation”.
The five-year project has received £10.8m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a further £6m from the EU Life programme and will mean the project can work with local communities and schools to reconnect people with the natural, cultural and industrial heritage.
The chief executive of the Severn Rivers Trust, Tony Bostock said: “it will deliver multiple benefits to fisheries interests, anglers and a great many local communities along the Severn and Teme. The state-of-the art fish passes will truly unlock the UK’s longest river and together with the habitat improvements provide greater resilience to climate change in the future”.
Fish Guidance Systems has a variety of acoustic fish deflection systems that can help with conservation. Contact David Lambert for further details.