Despite a second visit by a contractor employed by the Environment Agency to clear the fish from the council owned concrete pond at Ashby, fish are still dying in droves following what could only be described as a a minimal attempt was made on Thursday to remove the remaining fish.
I counted over 70 dead fish washed up on the banks since my last visit to the lake on Wednesday. The fish are now laying in the rapidly exposing mud which now lies where the lake used to be. This is providing lots of birds with plenty of food, but as the birds make their way on to the mud which covers years of rubbish they are becoming entangled in old fishing lines embedded in the mud.
While I was there a magpie was found tangled in fishing line which was carefully removed from around the bird's legs so that it could fly away. Unfortunately a larger gull near by had already perished.
Sadly the council and Environment Agency have left it too late for the remaining perch and roach to be saved. They were slow to act in the first instance requiring members of the public to repeatedly call the Environment Agency and the council who eventually following pressure from local ward councillor began pumping water into the lake just in time to avoid an eventuality like this.
Following the refill, a highly publicised rescue attempt was put in place (3 days later than the public were told) in which the local paper praised the response of both the council and environment agency but omitted the fact that (according to anglers) hundreds of fish remained stuck in the pond.
As it became apparent that there were still lots of fish remaining in the pond, a second rescue attempt was made yesterday, this time far more low key as the Environment Agency's contractor returned and removed some of the larger fish.
Anglers at the lake this evening told me that they were there on Thursday when the Environment Agency's contractor turned up, worked for a couple of hours removing the largest fish, and then left. The fish were removed under licence.
Now however residents have had enough, one angler told me "I've caught over a dozen small roach and perch in the last hour, I'm going to keep on catching them and I'm going to release them some where else so they won't die".
With regards to the legality of this, he said "I don't care, they can fine me or whatever, they're doing nothing about it and have left the small ones to die cos there's no money in it for them."
It would seem that the longer term future of the concrete pond does not look good.
Residents I spoke to told me they would like to set up a board of trustees for the pond to help repair and maintain it but were concerned not just at the cost, but also by the current Local Development Framework plan which has earmarked the area for future housing.
One resident told me "The council are not going to keep it, not if it costs them m
oney and they can sell it for housing, I'm just disgusted there's still this many fish in it".
Visit Scunthorpe has been given to believe that the pond will be drained and cleared and that a decision regarding its future will then be made.
What is clear however is that the council need to take action very quickly now, not just to avoid the death of the remaining fish, by the time they get to their desks on Monday, it will be too late, but to avoid an even bigger potential problem when the water recedes.
The smell is already incredibly noxious and the mud and
wasted dumped in the pond has already started claiming the lives of other animals which have been feeding on the dead fish. With the school holidays well under way, and the area a popular destination for children the mud presents a real danger to any kids playing in the area, the best advice parents could give would be to stay away from the pond and its banks, regardless of how tempting it may be to throw stones in the mud as some were doing tonight..
I've been down there this morning, and its a sad upsetting state, two shallow pools of water remain in which lots of fish are struggling for life, any one with a big pair of waders and a couple of big nets could probably rescue them. I'm updating the photo gallery with some photos, very grim. I guess the council now gets some more land to sell for housing after the broken supply pipe (which we were told does not exist) that feeds the lake has now become visible. How embarrassing
Stopped by this evening on the way back from a job, there are now two pools of water one at each end. Spoke to an angler down there who was weighing up the pros and cons of removing the fish with a net. While talking to him, a gentleman turns up and introduces himself as Tim Allen from Environmental Services at the council.
He spent quite some time discussing the issues the pond was facing with the anglers walked around the pond inspecting what fish remained and then rang the electro fishing company from the lakeside and asked them to re-visit the pond tomorrow to remove the remaining fish.
Very good to see some positive action now being taken on this matter.
I stopped by the pond this morning, around 11ish and noticed that there were fewer fish surviving that yesterday. The water level has once again dropped dramatically over night and the smell of the place truly terrible. If you've ever had the pleasure of working on an effluent plant (and I'm sorry to say I have) then this is a couple of notches worse, it does actually leave your eyes stinging after a few minutes on the downwind side.
Unfortunately there's no sign of Electo Fish having made it down there yet (I walked back at about 4:30). There were lots of groups of anglers down there discussing ways to get the fish out. I think the point has now been passed by which they are concerned about being prosecuted for removing the fish, then again any attempt at a prosecution would without doubt be met with massive public outrage. Realistically though I'd imagine that if fish were removed that neither the EA or the Council would want to kick up a fuss.
One of the anglers did say to me that people should only remove fish from the pond, especially the goldfish if they can keep them isolated as its more than probable that they may be carrying an infection. Apparently goldfish are particularly prone to this.
A major problem however is the mud, I'd imagine that something will have to be done about it soon as if people were to walk on it (as I'm sure kids will!!) then they could not just trip or fall, but very easily end up with some sort of blood poisoning. Similarly I'd imagine that any one with breathing difficulties would also struggle. I'd suggest any one with children, specifically warn them about staying away from this area now and take them to the pods instead, where swimming is free for under 16's all holiday!
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