This ‘silver darling’ is the Twaite Shad, a member of the herring family, and subject of Nancy Campbell’s first Canal Laureate commission. The Canal & River Trust is engaged on a project called ‘Unlocking the Severn’, installing fish passes on the River Severn to enable the Twaite Shad to once again migrate into the upper reaches of the Severn to spawn. The fish has been unable to reach the Upper Severn since the mid-1850’s when a series of navigation weirs were constructed and cut off access to the river above Tewkesbury. These weirs supported our industrial revolution and enabled boats full of raw materials and goods to gain safe and regular access into the Black Country – but cut off the river to migratory fish. Twaite Shad are endangered today, not just in the UK but right across Europe.
Nancy’s at work on two Twaite Shad poems which we’ll post here once they’ve been installed in their homes on the fish passes. One’s an anagram poem. ‘Twist ahead / Twaite Shad’.