Disused lidos may become aquariums

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A landscape artist has come up with an innovative idea to combat the tide of invasive species entering British waters by turn disused lidos - open-air swimming pools - into aquariums.

Dr Alex Murdin from Devon came up with the scheme in response to the 2008 Government strategy to combat invasive species.

Murdin told Practical Fishkeeping: The main idea is to educate the public about the issues concerning invasive species through displays that enable them to identify them and then report their spread to the appropriate agencies.

Dr Murdin s plan involves having tanks displaying native and non-native species on display in large tanks that are in the lidos. For those that are still in use, people could swim amongst the animals whilst those that were disused could be turned over completely to the capture and study of invasive species.

Murdin added: Hopefully this would be a way of experiencing marine/river wildlife in a fun and non-threatening way (most people are afraid of wild water) whilst providing a paying visitor attraction.

The Rural Recreation scheme is currently looking for a pilot project to test feasibility.

Meanwhile the government and the Environment agency have given little response other than to point out that it is illegal to keep certain non-native species and that steps would need to be put into place to ensure that non-native species did not spread to areas where they are not already present.