Fish Counter

Riverwatcher & Lifting Fish Catcher

The Brief

Woolston Weir, situated on the lower reaches of the River Mersey, required an enhancement to its existing fish passage methods. The weir, constructed in 1993-4, posed challenges for coarse fish, eel, and lamprey due to the existing pool and traverse pass. The client, AECOM, representing Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust, sought a solution that not only improved fish passage but also incorporated a fish counting mechanism. ACE was engaged to implement a fish counting system and address the challenges associated with confined space entry during maintenance.

The Solution

VAKI Riverwatcher for Fish Counting:
ACE proposed the incorporation of the VAKI Riverwatcher for fish counting. The VAKI Riverwatcher, known for its accurate statistics, silhouettes, and video capabilities, was chosen to monitor fish passage at Woolston Weir. However, the installation of Riverwatcher posed challenges as it enclosed the area, necessitating confined space entry for cleaning.

Bespoke Lifting Frame:
To address the confined space entry issue, ACE collaborated with partner KWT to design a bespoke lifting frame. Leveraging technology from their penstock range, the lifting frame was engineered to eliminate the need for both LOLER testing and confined space entry during fish pass maintenance. The lifting frame offered a practical solution to ensure the effective operation of the fish counting system without incurring excessive costs related to confined space procedures.

The Result

Efficient Fish Counting and Maintenance:
The implementation of the VAKI Riverwatcher provided the client with an efficient fish counting solution, offering valuable statistics, silhouettes, and video footage of passing fish. The bespoke lifting frame successfully mitigated the confined space entry challenges, streamlining the maintenance process for the fish pass. The result was an improved fish passage monitoring system with reduced operational complexities.

Enhanced Safety and Cost-Effectiveness:
The lifting frame not only enhanced safety by eliminating the need for confined space entry but also proved to be a cost-effective alternative. The removal of confined space requirements minimized the associated costs and logistical challenges. The solution contributed to a safer working environment while optimizing the overall project budget.



Innovative Collaboration for Problem Solving

The collaboration between ACE and KWT showcased innovative problem-solving. By integrating technologies from different domains, the bespoke lifting frame provided a tailored solution to the confined space entry challenge, demonstrating the adaptability and creativity of the project team.


Streamlined Maintenance Procedures

The lifting frame’s design significantly improved the efficiency of maintenance procedures for the fish pass. The elimination of confined space entry simplified cleaning processes, reducing downtime and associated costs. The achievement contributed to a more streamlined and practical maintenance approach.


Successful Integration of Fish Monitoring Technology

The successful integration of the VAKI Riverwatcher demonstrated ACE’s capabilities in incorporating advanced fish monitoring technology into existing infrastructure. The project highlighted ACE’s commitment to enhancing environmental monitoring and sustainability through innovative solutions.

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