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Battle to save 5,000 fish after levels of oxygen in river drops

PUBLISHED: 18:22 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:22 17 August 2020

Dead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARD

Dead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARD

EDWARD WARD

A kayaker was shocked to see “thousands and thousands” of dead fish in the River Stour - but the Environment Agency says its staff have saved 5,000 more.

Dead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARDDead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARD

When Edward Ward went out in his kayak this morning, he spotted the fish floating in the Stour. He said: “The dead fish stretched for about 0.6 of a mile, heading from Cattawade towards Flatford Mill.

“It was very sad to see the larger dead fish. The Environment Agency were on site with water pumps.”

Dead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARDDead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARD

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Mr Ward posted photos of the fish on social media, asking: “What on earth has happened on the Stour! Thousands and thousands of dead fish.”

Dead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARDDead fish seen in the Stour between Cattawade and Flatford Mill Picture: EDWARD WARD

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Our fisheries officers have worked tirelessly over the last two days to respond to reports of dying and distressed fish in the River Stour at Cattawade and their ongoing efforts have saved an estimated 5,000 fish, by helping raise the level of oxygen in the water. We will continue this work and monitor the situation for the next few days, but we don’t anticipate any further impact on fish in the area.

“Unfortunately the incident occurred when levels of oxygen in the river dropped rapidly. This sometimes happens when a period of hot weather is followed by thunderstorms or a sudden cooling of temperatures, which can cause the algae and weeds in the river to produce less oxygen, which, in turn, can have an impact on the fish.

“As always we’d ask people to report sightings of dead fish or fish in distress to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”


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