A councillor has branded as 'ridiculous' a ruling by the Environment Agency that dozens of Koi and goldfish cannot be returned to a Kent pond following dredging.
Work began on the pond at the Putlands leisure centre near Paddock Wood, Tunbridge Wells, earlier this week, reports the Times of Tunbridge Wells. The town council has had the pond reclassified as a fishery so it could apply for a permit to enable the ornamental fish to be returned afterwards, along with the native species. The pond already has fishing platforms and has been used for fishing in the past.
But the EA has refused to give permission for the Koi and goldfish to go back into the pond.
Councillor Robert Turk said: “It doesn’t make much sense to me that we’re in this position, as the fish were perfectly happy in the Putlands pond. However, the Environment Agency doesn’t want non-indigenous fish getting into the watercourses.
“For the fish to get out they would have to go through the outlet pipe, through the surface water system, if there was even enough water flowing, swim through the sewage system, the sewage farm, and out the other side into the river Medway.
“The chance of that happening is absolutely zero. It’s rather ridiculous as, at the end of day, most fish get transferred from one place to another by eggs on birds, so why don’t we shoot all the birds?”
However, the EA has said that the Common carp can be returned so long as a screen is installed over the outlet pipe.
An EA spokesman said: “The Environment Agency does not allow stocking of non-native fish in waters deemed unsuitable.
“In this case, these fish are likely to have been unwanted pets and we only allow such fish to live in fully enclosed waters where there is no risk of escaping.
“The pond in question is connected to a river system where fish can escape."
He added that non native cyprinids, especially goldfish, are known vectors of parasites and diseases which could affect native fish.
The fish are currently being cared for by contractors Mid Kent Fisheries.
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