Residents and council workers rescue fish struggling to breathe in Ballard Lake at New Milton
RESIDENTS and council workers rushed to rescue fish struggling to breathe during the dry spell in a lake at a New Milton beauty spot.
Visitors to Ballard Lake, off Lake Grove Road, raised the alarm, reporting the fish seemed to be in difficulty, massing together and close to the surface as they tried to get oxygen.
The town council was alerted and sent a team of workers on Tuesday to install pumps to increase the water’s flow and help them get more oxygen.
Estates and facilities manager Mark Jeffries told the A&T an immediate difference was seen once the first pump had been fitted.
A second was installed on the same day, and the Environment Agency sent a third to be added on Wednesday.
“There were lots of fish at the surface coming up for air,” Mr Jeffries said.
“Because there was not much flow in the lake, we decided we had to aerate the water.
“The pumps will continue to operate until we are satisfied there is enough oxygen in the water.”
Pointing out low rainfall levels caused this issue in other areas of the New Forest, Mr Jeffries added: “We’ve acted as soon as we could and, fortunately, things seem to be working there.”
Local fish enthusiast Karl Parker also went to help on Tuesday morning with a friend to move a large log that seemed to have trapped some of the creatures.
Praising her 26-year-old son for his actions, his mother Linda Mayall told the A&T a number of gold fish, ghost carp and dark carp were among those affected.
“The fish were stressed out,” Linda said. “They couldn’t get out so my son and his friend entered the water and pulled the log out of the way.
“An old lady told them they’d been there for days and she didn’t know who to call, and said, ‘Thank you very much’.”
She added: “It was brilliant that they helped them, otherwise they’d have died.”
Health checks will be carried out on the fish in the autumn when they will also be counted, Mr Jeffries explained, saying any taken out will be relocated to appropriate fisheries.