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'Keep dogs and children away': more than 1,000 dead fish rotting in river

PUBLISHED: 12:24 04 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:25 04 August 2019

1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford

1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford

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The Environment Agency has admitted it is too busy to dispose of more than 1,000 dead fish that are rotting in an East Anglian river.

1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford

Residents have flagged up the problem and warned people to keep their dogs and children away from the River Hundred by Kessingland Sluice, near Lowestoft.

The fish were first spotted on Sunday, July 28, by Sue Faith, 59, a carer from Kessingland who walks dogs in the area and was concerned about a potential health hazard.

Mrs Faith said: "It's smelling and it's horrible. I want to warn people against going there. Keep the dogs and children away.

"The day before we had the dogs in there swimming and the next day the fish were floating on the water. I was very worried and scared.

1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford1,000 dead fish are being left to rot away in the Kessingland sluice. Photo: Jean Difford

"The Environment Agency said their policy is the dead fish will sink to the bottom and that's the end of it."

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Kessingland Parish Council alerted the Environment Agency the following Monday as soon as it was made aware of the fish, but later said in a Facebook post that the agency was "unable to remove the fish as their staff are busy at other sites".

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said their officers were alerted on Monday, July 29, and as a result they sampled the water on the affected stretch and recorded elevated levels of ammonia, possibly linked to a period of extreme heat followed by sudden rainfall.

Thousands of dead fish have been washing up in rivers around East Anglia, with similar incidents occuring in Costessey and in Trowse.

The Environment Agency spokesperson said: "At least 1,000 fish were found to have died - mainly roach. The area affected is the Benacre sluice to approximately 300m upstream on the Hundred River.

"We don't know the cause of the mortality and we have not found an obvious source of pollution.

"Beyond this 300m range, the flora and fauna indicate a healthy environment and lots of healthy fish were observed."

The spokesperson said it was "unfortunate", but the agency would not be able to remove the dead fish "as our teams are responding to similar incidents across East Anglia, focusing resources on where we can save fish".

The agency said it was not best placed to give advice on dealing with pets, but said where dead fish were visible in numbers, people should consider keeping their dogs out of the water.

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