HUNDREDS of fish have died in a stretch of Grantham canal, prompting emergency action by the Environment Agency (EA).
Fisheries officer Reuben Page is leading the operation at the 200-metre stretch of water between Trent Road and Earlesfield Lane.
Up to 500 fish have died due to a rapid reduction in levels of dissolved oxygen in the water following the sudden hot weather. Normally, the temperature rises gradually and the fish would migrate over time.
Mr Page said: “Despite the fact that we have all enjoyed a beautiful, warm day weekend, if you’re a fish with fins it’s not such a great place to be.
“We normally expect the water temperature to be about 16-18C at this time of year. It’s now between 22 and 24C.”
The EA was alerted to the incident this morning after a member of the public reported floating fish in the water.
The sudden change in temperature has reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, causing the fish to suffocate.
Only smaller fish, predominantly Roach, have been killed so far, and it is hoped that the action being taken by the EA will keep those remaining alive.
Mr Page and his team are creating a chemical reaction in the water by pumping in hydrogen peroxide, which instantly produces dissolved oxygen.
He said: “This is not a major incident, but significant enough to get us out.
“No-one wants to see fish dying but in terms of the percentage of the population, about 5,000-6,000 fish in this stretch are unaffected.”
“Around the aeration device we’re using we’ve seen several hundreds of fish enjoying the benefit of dissolved oxygen being restored.”
Investigations will be ongoing and oxygen levels monitored.
* See Friday’s Journal for more.