SOME of the world's most valuable fish will be given a sharp 'rebuke' if they stray away from their journeys home to Hampshire.

New high-tech equipment has been installed at Fawley Power Station to prevent migrating salmon from getting into the screens of its cold water intakes and killing themselves.

Station manager Chris Hunt told a meeting at Fawley that when the cooling water is being sucked into the intakes, which draw millions of gallons a day when the station's 500 megawatt generator is in operation, various fish find their way in too.

He pointed out that those species include the treasured salmon migrating to and from the rivers Test and Itchen and he said: "They are a species we definitely do not want to harm."

As a result, he said, special sound transmitters had been suspended two-and-a-half metres down from a boom in the dock between the station and the lower reaches of Southampton Water.

He then showed computer film of koi carp swimming close to one of the sound units and darting away when it was switched on. They feel the sound and move off when they are within three or four metres of the sound units.

The method had already been tried in the UK by Thames Water and in Belgium and Mr Hunt said: "It has been quite successful here, judging by the number of fish we are getting in our screens."

He stressed later that the station didn't want to harm any species of fish, but pointed out that some of the smaller and weaker salmon did not have the strength to swim away.

"It's when they migrate south that they are in danger and their route takes them right past our intakes," he said.

Speaking at a meeting of the New Forest environmental protection liaison committee, Mr Hunt also outlined the change in ownership of the station.

Previously owned by the Central Electricity Generating Board, then National Power and more recently by Innogy, it has not been bought by the German company RWE, one of Europe's biggest firms in the electricity, gas, water, waste water and recycling industries.

Challenged by Fawley parish councillor Olivia Foster over whether foreign ownership was a good thing, he recalled that the government had wanted a free market to drive prices down.

He also pointed out that all companies had to abide by the laws of the land their installations were in and in terms of the country losing control of such plants, he said: "I don't think so."

As to whether it was a good thing, he said: "You may feel you should judge that by your electricity bill."