Fish return to canal after devastating pollution

Fish being moved from Westbrook Mere in Hemel Hempstead to the Aylesbury arm of the Grand Union Canal
Fish being moved from Westbrook Mere in Hemel Hempstead to the Aylesbury arm of the Grand Union Canal

The local arm of the Grand Union Canal is teeming with life once again after pollution killed a ‘vast’ number of fish in 2013.

More than 5,000 fish have been placed in the Aylesbury Arm of the canal – between Marsworth and Aylesbury – from the Aylesbury Basin in the town centre and Westbrook Mere, a carp fishing lake in Hemel Hempstead.

They were caught using large nets, placed in special bins filled with clean water and transported by trailer to the canal.

The work was carried out by Canal and River Trust, alongside Tring Anglers and the Boxmoor and District Angling Society,

John Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager at the Canal and River Trust said: “Back in 2013 pollution entered the canal near the village of Buckland killing a vast number of fish and affecting the fishery along a two mile stretch of the canal.

“Thankfully we have now been able to restock the canal by relocating fish from the canal basin and those donated from the Boxmoor and District Angling Society who kindly provided us with mature roach and bream from their fishing lake.”

Dick Pilkinton, from Tring Anglers said: “Our fishery was massively affected when the canal became polluted and it got to the point when there was a huge part of the canal that couldn’t be fished.

“On average it would take eight years for the fish population to recover on its own so I’m delighted we have managed to speed this process up and once again fish this part of the canal.”

Mike Heylin OBE, secretary to the Boxmoor and District Angling Society said: “This lake is principally a carp fishery so when we heard that the canal needed some extra fish we offered the trust and Tring Anglers the opportunity to take some roach and bream as really we had too many in this water.

“Having too many fish in a small lake can be bad for fish health and growth so we wanted to reduce the numbers whilst also helping to restore stocks in our local canal.

“Donating these fish also means our carp will flourish and should grow on well now.”