Leiston: Shock as hundreds of fish die overnight in pond

The pond off Haylings Grove in Leiston

The pond off Haylings Grove in Leiston

SCIENTISTS were called in to investigate the mysterious deaths of several hundred fish at a Suffolk fishing pond.

Scores of lifeless fish were spotted floating on the surface of Haylings Pond, in Leiston, by a dog walker earlier this week.

It is not yet clear what caused the deaths but any suggestion of criminal activity has been ruled out as many fish have survived apparently unharmed.

The dead fish are mainly small roach but also include some larger silver fish like skimmer bream.

One theory is that an infected domestic fish may have been dumped in the pond but scientists have not reached an official verdict.

Following the discovery, police carried out door-to-door enquiries but the matter was later passed on to water bailiffs and the Environment Agency (EA).

The pond is frequently used by young anglers and is supported by income from adults buying fishing permits.

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The angling season starts on June 1, by which time it is hoped the issue will have been naturally resolved.

An EA spokesman said: “We went to the site after being told by the angling club about the fish deaths.

“After arriving, we estimated that around 400 had died.

“The deaths do not seem to have been caused by pollution and we did a test on the water and found that the oxygen level was normal, so we hope that the remaining fish will not have health problems.

“We have asked the angling club to keep us updated on the situation.”

Malcolm Briggs, a water bailiff and secretary of Leiston Youth and Community Angling Society (LYCAS), thinks the most likely explanation might be a virus affecting the smaller young fish.

Mr Briggs said: “The Environment Agency came up and checked the water for oxygen and ammonia levels but it turned out to be in very good condition.

“The agency has been very helpful and supportive and has said it would look into helping us restock the pond.

“It’s an unfortunate situation. There was no sign of anything unusual the previous evening but by the morning we had several hundred dead fish.

“Had someone put poison in the water it would have affected everything.

“We have had issues with people dumping unwanted goldfish and koi in the pond.

“It could be caused by an infected fish not natural to the water. It has happened in the past in big commercial waters.”

To contact LYCAS about activities at Haylings Pond, call Mr Briggs on 01728 832788.