Environment Agency: River fish at risk

This information received from the Environment Agency:

We are experiencing an unprecedented number of fish kills across Kent, South London and East Sussex this summer. The extreme and prolonged hot and dry weather has reduced water and oxygen levels in our rivers, lakes and ponds.

As water levels reduce and flows get slower, rivers, ponds and lakes start to warm up. These conditions reduce oxygen levels which can stress fish and make then more vulnerable to disease. Small still waters are particularly susceptible.

The situation worsens when we experience heavy storms after a long dry period, as debris that has accumulated in the drainage systems can be flushed into rivers. As a result, the algae and micro-organisms in the rivers rapidly multiply which also reduces oxygen levels. This results in the fish being starved of oxygen and people may notice dead fish or fish gasping for air at the surface.

Our teams are working tirelessly to respond to these incidents. We urge people to report environmental incidents, including dead fish or fish gasping for breath to us by calling our 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Whilst we endeavour to help where possible, the large amount of incidents means we cannot always assist. We need to deploy our resources where the benefits are greatest and most needed. Our teams are responding to incidents across the region and our priority is to keep as many fish alive as possible.

Unfortunately we are expecting to see more incidents in the coming weeks. I have attached some guidance on how you can help and where we can support you.

Alan Cansdale
Area Environment Manager – Environment Agency