Fire crews called to save hundreds of dying fish

PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 September 2013 | UPDATED: 16:14 05 September 2013

Peter Snook, Ben Weaver and Paul Swain of the Weston Angling Club

Peter Snook, Ben Weaver and Paul Swain of the Weston Angling Club

Archant

FIRE crews were called to save hundreds of suffocating fish at one of Weston's favourite angling spots.

Fish in the small lake near The Swallows in Locking Castle were dying in large numbers, as the recent sunny weather and lack of rain had stripped the water of oxygen.

A fire engine attended the lake at 7.15pm last Thursday and attempted to oxygenate the water for half an hour.

Crews pumped the water from the pond into the air, which allowed it to be oxygenated, and let it fall back in the water like rain to give the fish an air supply.

An Avon Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “It is not the kind of thing we are called to every day. If fish are in distress it is an animal welfare issue, in the same way we would help a horse in a ditch or a cow in a river.

“We do have an animal rescue section but this is not the sort of thing we are called to often.”

Peter Snook, of Weston Angling Association, was at the lake with privately hired pumps in an attempt to help the fish.

He said: “The fish were in great distress and the fire brigade put themselves out to head down. They didn’t have to, we’re very grateful.

“We are losing so many fish, I expect we’ve lost near 1,000 now. We are trying to aerate the water with these three pumps at the moment, but we need bigger ones.”

Mr Snook said the problem is ongoing, as the water level has gone from almost 6ft deep to just 18 inches.

He said: “For the past six or seven years we keep getting told something will get done, but nothing ever does.

“There is a lack of oxygen in the water because the sun strips it out, and it’s made even worse as it is so shallow where it has not been dredged. The fish are gasping.

“We have fishing for the disabled as well as for children, but this doesn’t help promote the sport. It is impossible to fish.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “We were made aware of the issue after the fire service attended the scene. We don’t have the resources to pump water on that scale but of course the fire service does.

“We will work with our other public service providers and do as much as we can.”

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