Hundreds of fish dead and swans rescued from shallow water at Sankey Canal

Hundreds of dead fish have been found at Sankey Canal. Credit: Liverpool Echo

Hundreds of fish have been found dead fish at a canal on Merseyside.

Pictures show piles of fish floating on the Sankey Canal at Spike Island, with residents expressing their shock by the sight of "gasping fish".

Some have been warning for months that fish were facing dwindling water levels, especially after the arrival of a heatwave.

There are fears that any remaining fish will die unless rescued, with another Met Office "extreme heat" warning issued.

Volunteers have moved most of the canal's swans and transferred them to deeper waters, after they were seen struggling in the mud.

Volunteers have been helping to remove the fish and getting the swans to safety. Credit: Liverpool Echo

Christopher Jones braved the mud to rescue swans on Monday, and returned on Tuesday.He said: "I've always come over here, it’s a nice peaceful place to be."I used to fish here as a kid and then when I saw the groups talking about the state Spike Island has been left in I volunteered to help."I devoted my time to trying to move a lot of swans that were remaining. We managed to remove eight."

Campaigners have warned about the warm weather causing the canal to dry out. Credit: Liverpool Echo

Halton MP Derek Twigg described the situation as "devastating".

He said: "I believe that the only way a solution will be found is for all the various organisations and agencies to properly work together."I have convened a meeting which I will be attending, along with the Warrington South MP."I am bringing together Halton Borough Council, Warrington Borough Council, the Environment Agency (Government department), United Utilities, Groundworks, SCARS and Peel Holdings (new owners of the power station site)."

Halton Council says more than 13,000 fish have been rescued.

Derek Twigg MP described the situation as "devastating". Credit: Liverpool Echo

A council spokeswoman said they had been working for “many years” to find a solution to the situation and that the low water levels are being used to complete repairs that otherwise would have been "extremely difficult".In a statement to protesters, the leader of Halton Council, Cllr Mike Wharton, said: " Local interest groups have been invited to meet with senior council officers, so that the officers can listen to the groups' concerns and for information to be shared about previous efforts and current plans to address the issues."I hope at the meeting there will also be an opportunity to dispel some of the rumours that are currently circulating – including that the Council plans to develop Spike Island for housing – which has absolutely no truth."As a result of these discussions, I really do hope that people will be reassured of our good intentions for the canal and Spike Island."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...