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Deadly outbreak kills hundreds of Norfolk fish

PUBLISHED: 17:37 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:37 18 June 2019

Hundreds of dead fish, including roach, had to be removed from a pond in Thorpe Marriott following a deadly outbreak of white spot  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hundreds of dead fish, including roach, had to be removed from a pond in Thorpe Marriott following a deadly outbreak of white spot Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A council has warned people against releasing unwanted pet fish into ponds and feeding ducks after a deadly outbreak of a piscine disease killed hundreds of other fish.

Broadland District Council has put up notices warning people of a disease known as 'white spot' which resulted in the deaths of around 300 roach and rudd in a Suter Drive pond in Thorpe Marriott.

The ailment causes potentially fatal damage to the gills of fish, making it more difficult for them to breathe and wiped out a number of those inhabiting the pond.

And while Broadland's notice says a decrease in the level of oxygen in the waters - caused by heavy rain followed by a long dry spell - had contributed, it also warned of the spread of the illness.

It says the introduction of white spot to waters such as ponds is often as a result of "ornamental fish" such as goldfish and koi carp being released into the wild.

A notice posted by Broadland District Council warning of an outbreak of 'white spot' fish disease. Picture: Sarah Sutton via FacebookA notice posted by Broadland District Council warning of an outbreak of 'white spot' fish disease. Picture: Sarah Sutton via Facebook

The notice says: "Please do not release pet fish into the point - these can carry disease and parasites which can have a devastating effect on wild fish populations. Please note that it is an offence to release fish into the wild without the proper consent."

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A spokesman for Broadland District Council said: "We became aware of a large number of dead fish in the pond and alerted the Environment Agency, which responded promptly to test the pond and diagnose 'white spot' as the cause.

"The Environment Agency was able to quickly resolve the issue and there will be no long term effect on the health of the remaining fish or the pond.

Broadland District Council has issued advice around duck feeding following an outbreak of fish disease 'white spot' on Thorpe Marriott. Picture: Denise BradleyBroadland District Council has issued advice around duck feeding following an outbreak of fish disease 'white spot' on Thorpe Marriott. Picture: Denise Bradley

"We would like to remind people not to dispose of pet fish in the pond and to avoid excessive feeding of the ducks, as this can increase the rate in which 'white spot' spreads."

Meanwhile, the notice also advises people to be careful when visiting ponds to feed the ducks.

It says: "We don't want to be killjoys and believe that feeding the ducks can be a great way of introducing children to nature.

"But in excess it can be problematic for both the health of the ducks and the pond."

The notice also suggests visitors supply the ducks with "healthier options" than bread, such as bird seed, lettuce, sweetcorn and peas.

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