Fish Rescue, Fish Removal and Translocation

The Need to Rescue and Relocate or Remove Fish

Fish rescue, removal and translocation are a common requirement for angling clubs, aquaculture facilities, trusts and societies as well as large corporations such as utility companies, government organisations and developers. The precise requirement may vary with the emphasis being given to:

  • Risk management and active mitigation for developers when undertaking de-watering, maintenance or construction works within waterways;
  • Stock assessment and predator control for angling clubs, trusts and aquaculture facilities; and
  • Emergency response, protected species mitigation and invasive non-native species (INNS) control for government and regulator organisations such as the Environment Agency.

As a dedicated aquatic ecology consultants with a strong track record in fish ecology and fish surveys, we deliver pragmatic fish ecology and fisheries services tailored to the specific requirements of our clients.

Electric fishing using a backpack for the capture of protected fish species

Carcinus ecologist undertaking electric fishing using a backpack system for a fish ecology assessment in advance of relocation of fish resulting from a fish rescue and removal.

Fisheries Guidance, Planning and Consenting

Our highly experienced aquatic ecologists and consultants offer a comprehensive service to guide our clients through the necessary planning and consenting requirements for undertaking fish surveys, fish rescue, removal and translocation. Careful consideration of the species of fish, number, receiving waterway and techniques to be employed is required in advance of any fish rescue, removal and translocation. Carcinus provides expert planning services to expedite the consenting process. We achieve this by offering the following services:

  • Guidance on Fish Capture and Movement Techniques – Expert guidance in relation to the best approach to result in the maximum number of fish being rescued and / or removed;
  • Consents and Permits – Prompt application for all necessary consents and permissions required for the proposed techniques (electrofishing / netting) and the removal, transportation and release of fish. We hold a UK Animal Transportation certificate to allow us to legally transport live fish on UK roads;
  • Stakeholder and Regulator Engagement – Liaison with the relevant Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (SNCBs) e.g. Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Fish Surveys and AssessmentsFish surveys and desk-based ecological assessments for the early identification and suitability assessment of receiving waterbody and / or storage facilities; and
  • Fish Health Checks – Provision of health checks for fish as required when moving fish between different waterbodies.
Protected species Bullhead Cottus gobio

Protected species Bullhead Cottus gobio just one of the many protected fish species we encounter during our fish rescue services.

Methods for Fish Rescue, Removal and Relocation

The most common means of undertaking a fish rescue, removal and translocation is to use a combination of electrofishing and netting techniques. Carcinus staff have received formal training in how to safely and effectively use electrofishing backpacks, bankside and boom boat apparatus and have undergone first aid and biosecurity training. Where necessary, we increase catch efficiency by utilising various netting techniques such as juvenile seine, lake clearance and fyke netting. Combined, these techniques help ensure the maximum number of fish as well as fish species and age classes are caught. During the fish rescue and removal, records are kept of the abundance and biodiversity of the catch to help inform future management plans and assess the health of the fish stocks.

Specific Fish Species – Invasive / Non-native and Predatory

We can also provide a highly targeted service focused on rescuing or removing certain specific fish species. Predatory species such as pike and perch can become problematic when found in high abundance. Targeted removal is often required as part of maintaining a healthy balance within a managed waterway. Likewise, targeted removal of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) e.g. topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva, may also be required to safeguard the health of a waterway. We are also experienced in designing and implementing protected fish species assessments particularly for lamprey. For example, undertaking electric fishing and fingertip searches for juvenile (ammocoete) lamprey inhabiting fine silt environments ahead of construction works.

Quantitative lamprey electrofishing survey

Quantitative electrofishing survey for juvenile lamprey (ammocoetes) to assess prescence and need for mitigation measures prior to development works. Where protected species are present, Carcinus can provide specialist fish ecology advice, surveys and fish rescue and relocation services.

Fish Health Checks

We operate a rapid response team across the UK and can arrange for a statutory fish health check when moving fish between waterways. A fish survey will be undertaken and samples will be collected in advance by us and delivered to an Environment Agency approved practitioner for analysis. Data will be used to inform the consenting process.

Additional Support and Fisheries Management

As a dedicated aquatic consultancy specialising in fisheries science, Carcinus provides a comprehensive range of related fisheries and aquatic environmental services. Our aquatic ecologists and environmental consultants routinely undertake fish ecology and fisheries management assessments to the highest standards. Data gathered during the rescue, removal and translocation process can be used to inform future management and enhancement plans and provides valuable information on the general health, abundance and biodiversity of fish stocks.

In addition, we can provide expert guidance in relation to aquatic habitat improvement and enhancement options, fish populations studies and aquatic ecology health checks.

For more information on the services we provide visit our environmental services page.

Brown trout salmo trutta

Brown trout Salmo trutta recorded during a fish stock assessment and condition survey.

More Information

For more information regarding our freshwater aquatic ecology services, please download review our capability statements below:

If you require more information regarding our freshwater ecology survey capabilities and services, please contact us.