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Summer heatwave kills thousands of fish leaving them rotting in the sun

The summer heatwave has killed thousands of fish, leaving them rotting in the sun as environment chiefs battle to stop more deaths. 

Countless species have been hit by the blistering heat and vicious rain with rivers, ponds, lakes and canals affected.

The crisis comes as Brits rush to the bankside after lockdown – with officials saying rod licence numbers have jumped by a fifth compared to last year.

But shocking pictures show anglers will find hundreds of dead perch, bream, pike and roach after oxygen levels dropped in Britain’s waters.

The large scale deaths occur when oxygen levels drop in water and is particularly bad when storms follow a heatwave. 

An Environment Agency worker pictured trying to rescue fish that haven’t perished in Manningtreee, Essex. Countless species have been affected by the summer heatwave

Tens of thousands of dead fish pictured floating in Fleet Pond in Hampshire. The Environment Agency has launched a desperate bid to save fish across the country

Tens of thousands of dead fish pictured floating in Fleet Pond in Hampshire. The Environment Agency has launched a desperate bid to save fish across the country

In one stretch of the River Stour, in Essex, locals claim to have seen ‘thousands’ of dead creatures floating in the water.

The Environment Agency has launched a desperate bid to save fish across the country with pumps being brought in to re-oxygenate the water.

Its officers have also begun a grizzly clean up task and have removed countless carcasses from picturesque waterways in Surrey, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Portsmouth and Cambridgeshire. 

In Essex the quick thinking fisheries team at the Environment Agency managed to save 5,000 fish by raising oxygen levels in the water – but yesterday they were still removing large dead pike and bream. 

Dead fish seen floating in the river Stour in Manningtree, Essex, yesterday, after oxygen levels dropped in Britain's waters, with pumps being brought in to re-oxygenate the water

Dead fish seen floating in the river Stour in Manningtree, Essex, yesterday, after oxygen levels dropped in Britain’s waters, with pumps being brought in to re-oxygenate the water

Dead fish in the river Stour where, in one stretch, locals have claimed to see 'thousands' of dead creatures floating in the water, in Manningtree, Essex

Dead fish in the river Stour where, in one stretch, locals have claimed to see ‘thousands’ of dead creatures floating in the water, in Manningtree, Essex

Dead fish pictured floating in Fleet Pond, Hampshire, as they succumb to the extended period of high hear and water deoxygenated by blue green algae

Dead fish pictured floating in Fleet Pond, Hampshire, as they succumb to the extended period of high hear and water deoxygenated by blue green algae

A spokesman for the Environment Agency 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.

An Environment Agency worker trying to rescue fish that haven't perished as chiefs face a race against time to save Britain's rivers after the summer heatwave and storms

An Environment Agency worker trying to rescue fish that haven’t perished as chiefs face a race against time to save Britain’s rivers after the summer heatwave and storms

Dead fish floating in the river Stour in Manningtree, Essex. Officers are removing countless carcasses from picturesque waterways in Britain

Dead fish floating in the river Stour in Manningtree, Essex. Officers are removing countless carcasses from picturesque waterways in Britain

An Environment Agency worker pictured wearing a face mask tries to rescue fish that haven't already perished in Manningtree, Essex, yesterday

An Environment Agency worker pictured wearing a face mask tries to rescue fish that haven’t already perished in Manningtree, Essex, yesterday

‘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.’

The Angling Trust has labelled the issue a ‘real concern’ and urges its members to report any problem areas.

John Cheyne, national regions manager, said: ‘Long periods of hot weather can have a devastating effect on fish, particularly those in small or shallow lakes, ponds and slow moving rivers.

‘Just as humans need oxygen in the air around us to breath, fish need oxygen in water to survive and as water get warmer it generally contains less dissolved oxygen.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk