Heatwave causes mass fish death as soaring temperatures leave them ‘gasping for air’

·2 min read
Dozens of fish were found dead at the beauty spot (Sharon Laker)
Dozens of fish were found dead at the beauty spot (Sharon Laker)

The UK heatwave caused the mass death of fish at a Derbyshire park amid warnings soaring temperatures are leaving them “gasping for air”.

Around 100 roach fish were found dead in Belper River Gardens, which runs alongside the River Derwent, on Sunday after temperatures soared past 30C earlier last week.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We believe this was the result of a natural phenomena caused by a rapid change in temperature from the hot conditions on Friday followed by a drop in temperature and heavy rain on Saturday.

“Fish depend on oxygen in the water to survive and these conditions can result in very low dissolved oxygen in shallow water. Roach are particularly susceptible to this but fortunately other species including koi carp were unaffected.”

The agency said it had removed the dead fish and deployed two pumps to aerate the water.” It added: “There is no evidence to indicate that any form of pollution or chemicals are responsible for the fish mortalities.”

The Environment Agency asked anglers, boaters, and other people using the water to be alert for fish in distress, after officials in Shropshire rescued 100 brown trout and juvenile Atlantic salmon which were stranded at sites on the Teme and Redlake rivers during the dry weather.

The fish became drapped in pools upstream as water levels fell.

A spokesperson said: “The River Teme and River Redlake often run dry in their upper reaches during dry weather, stranding fish in pools. Due to the current low water flows there are fish stranded in pools and if left, these pools will dry out, and the fish will be lost.”

The agency added: “Warm weather can often lead to algal blooms or water that is too warm which makes it difficult for fish to breathe. Fish are often seen gasping for air.

“If anyone sees fish in distress, please contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

Councilllor Ben Bellamy, who sits on Belper Town Council, told the Derbyshire Times talks with Amber Valley Borough Council are underway to prevent further fish deaths.

“The situation is not helped by people continuing to feed bread into the pond for ducks, which creates excess nutrients and the algae bloom,” he said.

Blue-green algae infestation has also been blamed for the deaths of thousands of fish at Glasgow’s Richmond Park. The fish were spotted floating in a pond earlier this month, the Glasgow Times reported.

Algae concentrations increase during the warm summer months.

Parts of the UK were sweltering in a second heatwave within days, with temperatures forecast to climb to 28C in some areas.

It comes after last week’s heatwave brought three consecutive hottest days of the year.