The Environment Agency (EA) has classed the incident as Category 1– its highest degree of severity.
The EA is awaiting laboratory results on water samples from the affected area to determine what caused the rapid de-oxygenation of the river. The water at Newbridge would usually read between 50 to 100 per cent oxygenation. An early reading by the EA returned a reading of just 2 per cent.
Guy Humphreys, fisheries manager for WDAA described the moment he discovered the dead fish.
He said: ‘I got a call about a tree that was down, overhanging the water. I went to have a look and noticed in the river there were all these dead fish.
‘There were so many dead or dying that I could have walked across the water on them. There’s tens of thousands of fish have been killed.’
Mr Humphreys promptly phoned the EA.
Meanwhile, people back up the river in Winsford began to witness the grizzly scene at the flashes.
Deputy mayoress of Winsford, Hilary Kennedy, said: ‘I was on the high Street walking the dog when a friend of mine came towards me from the direction of the flashes and stopped to talk.
‘She told me that she was shocked to see there were a lot of dead fish in the water around the marina, the Town Bridge and all along the river.
‘She said that there were policemen there and a heck of lot of other men, plus someone in a canoe.’
The river has a rich diversity of species, including bream, roach, silver fish, carp, tench, perch and pike…
‘It takes 15-20 years to get stocks back up to the way they were. It’s soul destroying. It’s not just fishing either, there’s the knock on affect on all wildlife in the area.’” Read more.