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Good news: Freedom for the fish

3 May 2024

3 mins

Credit for this blog content: ‘Barbour Consolidated legislative update services’

We hear so much about climate change and biodiversity, but it often feels far away, for example the countless images of polar bears balancing on the edge of a melting iceberg… But there is plenty happening near us in Loughborough too, and not all bad! Read below about the fish pass which has just been created on the River Trent, which is going to help fish move more freely and access habitats. Something to feel positive about.

The country’s largest fish pass has just been completed… but what does this mean?

Due to a recent development on the River Trent, it will now be easier for fish to reach their spawning and feeding grounds. The Colwick (Holme Sluices) fish pass has taken two years to construct and will now open up the River Trent and its tributaries for migratory fish to allow them more access to habitats. The fish affected include salmon, trout, and eels. This development is part of work completed by the Environment Agency to improve fish passage across the country; this marks a significant step in the right direction towards restoring the River Trent catchment to its original state.

It will now be easier for fish to navigate past the Holme Sluices, which is a major flood risk management structure built in the 1950s to help protect Nottingham from flooding.

“The fish pass will open up the River Trent for all fish species and is the first scheme of the ambitious Trent Gateway Partnership which aims to remove all barriers to fish migration along the River Trent – the third longest river in the country”.

“There are a number of barriers to fish migration within the River Trent catchment, including Holme Sluices, which is the largest barrier to the natural migration of fish in the Midlands. By installing fish passage, it will become easier for salmon and other fish to reach their spawning and feeding grounds”.

“We are working with partners to improve the situation and hope that the Colwick fish pass will serve as a catalyst for other Trent Gateway projects, which will in turn enhance the river and boost the local economy”.

The fish pass:

  • Includes a two-metre high fully automated radial gate which constantly monitors the water levels and flow rates in the River Trent. This means it will open and close based on the differing water levels throughout the year.
  • Is 200m long, 6m deep and 6.5m wide.
  • Is divided into 20 ascending chambers into which water flows through narrow slots. Fish will be able to pass through these slots and rest in the chamber above before continuing to swim upstream. They can then lay their eggs upstream in the gravel riverbeds of the River Dove and the River Derwent, which are tributaries of the River Trent.
  • Includes an eel pass which will help support the European eel, a ‘critically endangered’ species.
  • Includes a public viewing platform above the water with interpretation boards informing and advising visitors about the local wildlife both in the river and on the surrounding land. This includes the fish expected to use the pass.
A salmon leaping upstream on its way to its spawning grounds. Image by Kevin Wells, Source: Geographical Magazine.  

If you would like to read more about this subject, please visit the below link:

Colwick (Holme Sluices) Fish Pass Briefing.

This article is in support of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. To read more click here.  

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