11,000 Fish Rescued on the Union Canal

Scottish Canals have now completed initial works along the Union Canal in response to a breach near the A801 between Polmont and Muiravonside. As part of our works a massive fish rescue operation has been carried out, saving fish that were displaced in pools of water downstream of the breach.

In less than one-week Scottish Canals alongside our partners, the Forth Rivers Trust have undertaken the rigorous and complex task of rescuing over 11,000 fish displaced by the breach in the canal. The diligent and professional efforts made over the course of the week have saved a variety of fish including; pike, perch, roach, eel, three spined stickleback and brown trout from pools of water and returned them to the canal. Staff have been on hand monitoring the situation since the breach on the 12th of August and have now concluded the fish rescue operation.

Thank you for the efforts of all concerned in the fish rescue and wider mitigation’s after this unprecedented incident.  The SFCA would like to particularly thank the Forth Rivers Trust for the great lengths that they have gone to in order to conduct this rescue and for providing the SFCA with regular updates and details of the fish rescued. As someone with an HND in Fishery Management and with experience of Seine netting and electro fishing I am fully aware of the scale and complexity of this task.

Gus Brindle from the Scottish Federation of Course Angling

The SFCA will be monitoring the areas where the rescued fish have been released and would urge any users of the towpaths in the area to report sightings of any fish in distress to either Gus Brindle on 07812 241816, by email at chairman@sfca.co.uk, or to Scottish Canals.  Any further mitigations to the stocking density in the canals will be considered in consultation with Scottish Canals once the physical and environmental restoration works are complete.  The SFCA would like to remind individuals that the movement of fish between waters in Scotland is illegal without written consent from Scottish Government and risks the transmission of Invasive Non-native Species and disease to the canal.

Scottish Canals other works in response to the breach include creating a diversion route which will allow walkers and cyclists to continue to enjoy the outdoors. Our diversion will add less than 10 minutes to the journey and crucially it will keep people within the immediate area. Signposts and other materials can be found along the route. In addition, we have commenced a boat lift operation which will ensure boaters are able to reach their destination with minimal disruption.

We would like to remind those enjoying our network to stay safe and maintain physical distancing.

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact:

Josie Saunders at Scottish Canals on 07881816283 or email Josie.Saunders@ScottishCanals.co.uk

Scott Lamond at Scottish Canals on 07976524446 or email scott.lamond@scottishcanals.co.uk

For all the latest updates on the Union Canal breach please follow @scottishcanals


  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Forth & Clyde, Union, Monklands, Caledonian and Crinan Canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See www.ScottishCanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • Scottish Canals has a diverse portfolio of 4100 assets that include 137 miles of canal, 19 reservoirs, 227 canal embankments and 253 bridges, with a rigorous inspection programme that takes place daily, weekly, monthly and yearly to ensure a clear understanding of the condition of the infrastructure in our care.
  • Scottish Canals Environmental Strategy which sets out how we work towards delivering sustainable benefits can be found here
  • Scottish Canals prioritises works on the canals, as set out in the 2018 Asset Management Strategy, according to the risk each asset poses. This stretch of the Union Canal was not identified as a high-risk asset.
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism

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