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Dover District Council save dying fish from water near The Butts, Sandwich

A council has sprung into action to save fish after they were found dead and dying in a river.

The casualties, from a number of species, were discovered floating at the edges of the water in Sandwich.

Concerned residents shared pictures of the fish in the water next to The Butts, some of which were lying on their side or upside down, in an attempt to raise the alarm.

"Someone needs to do something, can anyone help?" one asked, while others speculated as to the cause.

One man said: "This [river] has been blocked with concrete for a few years and never put right, that's why the river never gets flushed.

"Take the concrete out from the lock gate (the garage end from a repair on the road) of The Ropewalk and the men will be able to flush the river with good clean water and oxygen in the water."

Dover District Council (DDC) was alerted to the incident, and attended alongside the Environment Agency and Mid Kent Fisheries this afternoon.

A number of fish were found gasping for air in water near The Butts, Sandwich
A number of fish were found gasping for air in water near The Butts, Sandwich

Following tests, it was revealed that due to the freezing conditions and dieback of vegetation in the waterway, the oxygen levels are not sufficient to sustain the fish.

Thankfully, a number were confirmed to still be alive and officers removed them to be relocated to a different area.

A DDC spokesman said: "We can confirm that a number of fish have been found dead or dying in the waterway near The Butts in Sandwich.

"We have been working closely with partners including Mid Kent Fisheries and the Environment Agency, and have been working with partners to take action to remove and relocate the fish from the water.

"Issues have arisen following the recent freezing weather. We continue to work with our partners on this matter."

"There were probably 10 or 15 gasping for air..."

Cllr Daniel Friend added: "There are only a few fish – four or five – that didn't make it. There were probably 10 or 15 gasping for air and they got put into oxygen tanks but all survived.

"On top of that, another 30 or so have also been moved to another location.

"It's obviously not a nice thing to witness, but it's good that the council and partners acted within 24 hours and got them moved quickly with minimal fuss."

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