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By Connie Osborne Saturday 11 January 2014 Updated: 13/01 23:53
AROUND 23,000 fish have had to be moved from Tardebigge's lock as part of a canal restoration programme.
The large scale operation comes as part of essential maintenance works by the Canal and River Trust along the 700m flight on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.
The scheme, which costs a total of £75,000, will also see the replacement of the gates at lock 58, brick work repairs to the lock chamber and new paddles for the county's 200-year-old waterways.
The fish, which included gudgeon, roach, perch and bream, have been carefully caught by experts from MEM Fisheries and placed in the next lock along while the works take place and the water is drained out.
Ian McNeil, managing director of MEM Fisheries, said: "We have had an impressive amount of fish and a good variety.
"It is phenomenal how many we have seen.
"These types of fish are intolerant to any form of pollution so that means the quality of the water is very good which is very promising for us to hear."
He added he believed fish stocks had risen over the years and as part of the rescue he had also seen a number of eels as well as a 32lb pike.
Mark Abraham, construction supervisor for the trust, said: "This restoration work not only improves the lock but also provides us with an inkling of how clean the water actually is in this canal, while giving us a chance to record what species are here and how many."
Before the water and fish are let back, people are invited to a special open day where they can see what lies beneath the UK's longest lock flight at the New Wharf on the Alcester Road.
On Saturday (January 18), from 10am until 4pm, residents will have the opportunity to take part in guided tours around the site, walk along the bottom of the lock chamber and see the 200-year-old brickwork and Victorian engineering close up.
Heritage experts will also be giving talks about the history of the area.
Sensible footwear should be worn by all visitors and places need to booked.
There will also be a chance for people to visit the historic Tardebigge lime kilns.
The Worcester, Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Society is currently restoring the site where quicklime was made more than 100 years ago.
The kilns, which sit next to the canal, would have used the waterways to transport the limestone away before proper roads existed.
Visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk and www.wbdcs.org.uk for more information and to book a place.
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