Villagers battle to save the lives of fish

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Hundreds of fish were rescued from a polluted lake in Staffordshire, after local residents netted out survivors and donated paddling pools, buckets and baby baths in an effort to try and keep them alive.

Thousands of fish were found dead in Madeley Pool, near Newcastle-under-Lyme. According the Environment Agency, the lake had become contaminated with agricultural silage, which would have stripped oxygen from the water, causing the fish to suffocate. The lake is home to roach, carp, bream, tench and perch.

Dozens of villagers — including children with fishing nets — joined with firefighters to net out as many of the surviving fish as they could, temporarily housing them in anything they could find in desperate bid to save them while attempts were made to try and oxygenate the water to stop the remaining fish from dying.

Ralph Parsons, chairman of Madeley Pool Angling Club, which manages the pool, said: "We normally have between 7,000 and 10,000 fish in the pool. At least 5,000 of them must have died.

"The whole pool looked like a carpet with fish on the surface struggling to breathe.

"It is a close-knit community and we are a local club so everyone has pulled their finger out to try to do what they can.

"We have tried to take out as many alive fish as we can, but there is only so long they will last in paddling pools.

"They have been dying by the minute but we can't take them anywhere in case they contaminate other fish."

Further tests are being carried out at the pool, including the checking of oxygen levels, before the surviving fish can be returned.

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