Yellow Fish

Organisation: Bow Themes
Location: National
Type: Tools & approaches

Yellow fish is simple project where yellow fish are painted next to drains to remind people that what is put down a drain impacts aquatic life. Road and surface water drains are designed to allow rainwater to drain into the nearest waterbody, but these drains can be a large source of pollution with substances like engine oil, paint, detergents and litter being put down them. Once these pollutants enter a waterbody they can be incredibly harmful to fish and other organisms that live there.
Led by the Environment Agency, once permission is obtained from the landowner (usually the local authority), local community groups receive a pack including a stencil and guidelines for raising awareness in the local community. These groups can be local conservation groups or school groups.
This is a brilliant, active way of getting young people interested in conservation. The project can be shaped to suit the group, being equally suited as the foundation of a whole Key Stage or as a stand alone activity. Raising awareness within the community via leaflets and newsletters also Makes Yellow Fish fantastic for developing learning, thinking skills and citizenship awareness.
Participant’s are encouraged to send in a feedback form in order to get their project marked on the EA’s yellow fish map, showing all the places where this scheme is being carried out.

Skelton Primary School, York
Skelton Primary School’s Eco Team is one of many schools that has been involved with the Yellow Fish Scheme. In conjunction with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust the children spent an afternoon marking yellow fish next to drains. The children also went to the local river to see the possible effects of pollution. Jo Feary from Redcar and Cleveland Council also came along to explain to the children the work that had been done around the river by the council as well as local residents groups.


The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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