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Abandoned pet fish may have spread killer illness to Danson Park carp

PUBLISHED: 08:01 14 June 2012

Carp can grow up to 40 pounds when unaffected by disease

Carp can grow up to 40 pounds when unaffected by disease

Archant

Environmental investigators believe that a mystery illness which wiped out carp in a Bexleyheath beauty spot could have been caused by diseases from wanted fish dumped in the water.

Dog walkers reported spotting dozens of dead carp this spring at Danson Park Lake which is popular with anglers and water sports enthusiasts and a reported 300 to 400 fish died.

Environment Agency experts took samples of dead fish and water from the 7.8 hectare lake to try to find out why the carp were dying and other species appeared to be unaffected by the mystery bug.

The spokeswoman said: “Our investigation identified a risk that locally people may see publicly accessible water bodies, such as Danson Lake as suitable to dispose of unwanted pond or aquarium fish, albeit with good intentions. We have received information on alleged illegal disposal and we are working jointly with London Borough of Bexley and Metropolitan Police to follow this up. As well as being illegal, these acts carry a high risk of introducing diseases or parasites to the wild and the effects on the existing native fish population can be devastating. “

She ruled out problems with water quality or pollution killing the fish.

She said: “Water quality during the period of this incident has been perfectly normal and is not thought to be a factor in the fish deaths. We are confident that no pollution occurred and this is borne out by the results of our tests and that the other fish species in the lake remained unaffected whilst the carp were dying.”

Carp are prone to problems which can wipe them out in a pond or lake.

The spokeswoman added: “At Danson, the carp that we examined were found to be in extremely poor health and their gills were in very poor condition. All of the fish that we examined had extensive gill damage and this affects their ability to breathe normally. In the absence of any single bacterial or parasitic cause, this damage was likely to have caused the fish deaths. ”

The lake is free on the main notifiable fish diseases and is due to reopen for angling when the close season ends on Friday (June 15).

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