Mystery over dead eels found in rivers

Image source, Environment Agency
Image caption,
One of 80 dead eels found in rivers in Norfolk and Suffolk

The Environment Agency is appealing for help from the public after 80 dead eels were found in rivers in East Anglia.

Tests being carried out by the National Fisheries Laboratory in Brampton, Cambridgeshire are trying to establish why the eels died in the tidal waters.

The scientists said they needed samples of living eels in distress in order to get a more conclusive result.

The public is being asked to call 0800 807060 if they see eels struggling to breathe or in distress.

The Environment Agency confirmed dead eels were found on Monday at Haddiscoe, Rockland and near Great Yarmouth on the rivers Waveney, Yare and Bure.

The three rivers converge and flow out to sea at Yarmouth.

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Image source, Environment Agency
Image caption,
The Environment Agency says no other species of fish had been found dead in the rivers alongside the eels

"We suspect this may be a specific eel disease. Most of the dead eels are 10-40 cm [4-16 in] long," a spokesman for the Environment Agency said.

"There is no sign of any other dead or distressed species - dissolved oxygen and ammonia concentrations in the water are all as we would expect."

The public was being asked to call the agency's hotline promptly in the hope that a mobile fisheries officer would be able to reach the river in time to collect a distressed living eel for study.

Last week, the Environment Agency confirmed more than 6,000 fish had died in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex as a result of low oxygen levels and pollution during the hot weather.

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