Herne Bay gardener in rescue bid to save hundreds of dying fish
A GARDENER launched a one-man rescue bid to save hundreds of fish.
Neil Allen sprang into action after contractors hired to clear out the pond in Herne Bay Memorial Park were stuck with hundreds of fish that had not been removed in preparation for the clean.
The men found the fish on Monday when they arrived to dredge the pond.
The previous week a firm had removed the majority of fish, but when contractors arrived on Monday some remained.
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Mr Allen, who was working nearby with L&J Landscapes, said the workmen seemed to have no idea how to remove the creatures humanely.
Mr Allen intervened to ask if they were going to let the fish die and was told they were not supposed to be in there.
Mr Allen said: "I couldn't believe it. I scooped a load up and after that the men started getting buckets to collect them in."
Dick Eburne, chairman of the Friends of the Memorial Park, said it would be impossible to collect them all and the rest could have been killed "effectively".
He said: "I can understand that it is distressing to see fish dying, or to try to kill them if you don't know how to do it effectively.
"I seem to remember that anglers used to use an implement called a 'priest', a sort of weighted club, to kill fish quickly.
"I regret that some people have been distressed. Canterbury City Council seem to have listened to the previous complaints and have at least tried to save most of them.
"I hope that next time the pond is drained the staff will have been given appropriate advice and training on how to kill the fish that escape removal."
He welcomed the council's commitment to maintaining the pond and said they had attempted to address concerns about the welfare of the fish by trying to remove them.
Mr Eburne added: "One of the problems that has occurred in the pond over recent years is that some people have released pet fish into the pond when they were no longer willing to look after them.
"That can be cruel as many pet fish are not able to live in the pond's environment.
"However, it is impossible, given the size of the pond, to catch all the fish.
"Perhaps local anglers could have been asked about how to deal with those remaining."