Tens of thousands of fish moved from Paris canal

Paris authorities have moved tens of thousands of fish to clean up the Canal Saint-Martin, a popular waterway commissioned by Napoleon that attracts hordes of tourists and revellers.

The three-month clean-up has seen the fish — ranging from catfish to a 16-kilogram (35 pound) carp — transported to the River Seine as the canal in the trendy 10th district was emptied on Monday.

“The haul has been good,” said Marion Escarpit from a local anglers' association, emptying a bucketful of fish and rubbish.

“We have found very few fish that are sick or malformed. That's surprising when you see what's there at the bottom of the canal.”

The draining also allows authorities to repair the canal's walls and renovate the locks.

Of course it's not just fish that are being pulled out of the canal.

The rubbish tossed into the canal includes beer bottles, bicycles, toilet bowls, rolled-up carpets and weapons, including a sawn-off gun and a toilet. Click the link below to see more.

Canal Saint-Martin reveals its dirty secrets

“We haven't found the body yet,” joked hydrobiologist Romain Zeiller, one of the officials involved in the project.

The last clean-up in 2001 yielded a formidable amount of detritus including motorbikes and bathtubs.

But the quality of the water has improved over the years and marine life in the canal has burgeoned.

“In the 1980s, there were only two varieties of fish in Paris,” said Escarpit. “Now there are 35.”

The operation will last until early April and will cost the city €9.5 million ($10 million).

The waterway was commissioned in 1804 to transport goods into the capital as well as provide it with fresh water.

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The 17 bizarre objects found in the waters of a Paris canal

Apart from the abundance of beer and wine bottles, which isn’t surprising considering the droves of hipsters that come to party on the quays in the summertime, the cleaning of Paris's Canal Saint Martin has uncovered some seriously bizarre finds.

The 17 bizarre objects found in the waters of a Paris canal
Photo: AFP

The picturesque canal that runs through the trendy tenth arrondissement in Paris is being cleaned for the first time since 2001.

And apart from the 100 Velib bikes that have been pulled out and cleaned down the murky waters of the canal have unearthed some pretty bizarre and worrying treasures.


On the first day of cleaning, The Local spotted a pistol in the canal near the Jaures metro stop. It was promptly seized by police. A rifle was found later, the Paris Canal Service told us. 

A drone

Photo: Flickr/Don McCullough

Yes, a drone apparently crash-landed into the canal. It's unknown what kind. 


Photo: AFP

Along with nearly 100 Vélib bicycles, several scooters and motorcycles have turned up. 

Sewing mannequin

Photo: Flickr/SewingMachine-0288

Who doesn’t like to do a bit of sewing on the banks of the canal?


Photo: Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

Someone is probably missing it. 

Vintage camera

The camera appears to be a Rolleiflex, made by a German company in the 1930s. 


Photo: The Local

As well as countless cell phones, cleaners have discovered several computers.

Road roller

Photo: Le Bon Coin

This vehicle is used in construction to compact gravel, concrete, or asphalt. 


Anyone fancy some sunbathing?


Photo: The Local

If you look carefully in the center of the photo, you’ll see a large, rusty kitchen knife. 

Giant cuddly toys

Spotted this morning at the bottom of the #canalsaintmartin in #Paris, a nice white #tiger

— Benoit vallet (@bnpix) January 6, 2016

Some poor child was undoubtedly devastated when the canal claimed this lovely white tiger.

A toilet

Photo: AFP

This toilet could use a clean…


Cleaners found ten push-chairs and fortunately zero babies.

One ski boot

Photo: Flickr/Hamish

A single, lonely ski boot was found. 

Shopping trolleys

Photo: AFP

The cleaners have found more than a couple grimey shopping trolleys.


Photo: Flickr/Kris Schroeder

It doesn't seem like an easy feat, but someone apparently chucked a bathtub into the canal. 

Washing machine

Photo: Flickr/Daniel Horacio Agostini

Last but certainly not least, yet another heavy household appliance was recovered from the canal's cloudy waters.

These aren’t even the strangest things ever found in the canal. 

In 1886, cleaners found an antique chest containing a gold coin. They found a bomb in 1916. 1925 was a morbid year, turning up a cat enclosed in a basket and a human skull.

For more details on how the cleaning is being done, check out our article here: So what's beneath the waters of a Paris canal?

Cleaning is scheduled to be done by April 4th. Once the canal reopens, keep in mind that if you’re caught tossing your garbage into it, it’ll cost you €68. 

By Katie Warren