Fish Rescue & Fish Removal

Wild fish populations are protected by UK and EU legislation, and fish rescues are typically a regulatory condition of environmental permitting. Fish rescue and fish removal is an important element of any project which involves the dewatering or management of rivers, canals and lakes, among other types of waterbodies.  

Fish rescues/removals use the same techniques as those utilised in fish surveys: a combination of electric fishing and netting are used to safely capture and relocate the fish. Once caught, they are temporarily held, – to the highest welfare standards, –until they are moved to a receptor location agreed with the regulatory bodies. FiveRivers have purpose-built transport tanks for fish removals/rescues which are vehicle-mounted, allowing us to access any site. 

 We can obtain all permits and consents on your behalf and can problem solve your fisheries issues, when you need support on your scheme, with liaison, consulting and early contractor involvement offered by our specialist fisheries ecologists. 

Fish rescue
The Problems


Dewatering areas for construction or carrying out works (such as sheet piling in a canal) could be harmful to fish populations. It is important that you have a plan in place to remove and exclude fish from the works area in these circumstances. Without this, you could be liable to prosecution from the Environment Agency or if not planned far enough in advance, could cause delays to your work programmes. A significant challenge when dewatering (e.g. pumping dry an area) is that fish will become stranded, distressed or die without adequate mitigation.  

 Unwanted fish in a pond, suspected presence of invasive non-native species (such as goldfish) or a need to thin out of fish stocks may mean that you need to undertake fish removal from habitats. Conflict with protected species, like great crested newt, as part of housing development sites is a common problem in inland waters. 

Five Rivers’ well-trained team during a fish rescue
The Solutions

Bespoke Solutions

We are experts in fish rescue and fish removal – it’s the reason we’ve been chosen to work on projects with clients across the whole of the UK. We’re here to ensure that projects such as channel diversion, dewatering and canal drain downs are completed on time, on budget and according to legislation. Our fish rescue and fish removal specialists are all CSCS trained to the appropriate level, including site supervision (SSSTS).   

We can provide full liaison with regulatory bodies (Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, etc.) and apply for all necessary consents. We can also arrange for statutory Fish Health Checks as part of the survey, if required. 

 Our fish rescue and fish removal services include reactive and bespoke solutions to mitigate risk to the environment, so get in touch to discuss your project needs. 

Tom Grayling - Director of Monitoring and Natural Capital at FiveRivers (5R)

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Talk to an expert in Fish Rescue & Removals

Tom Grayling

Director of Monitoring & Natural Capital

Get in touch by either phone or email to speak with Martin and discuss your needs. Alternatively click the button below to complete our contact form.