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It’s happened again: Dead fish found in village burn

Just as fish were returning to the waters, tragedy strikes again

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By Ben Murray
Annan and Eskdale
It’s happened again: Dead fish found in village burn
MAN ON THE SCENE. . . Stuart Eckersley was one of the first Powfoot residents to discover the dead fish

PILES of dead fish were again found floating in Powfoot Burn on Tuesday – for the third time in six years.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are investigating the incident after they were alerted by concerned residents.

They say they have found a ‘number of potential pollution issues’.

Villager Stuart Eckersley, above, was one of the first people on the scene.

He said: “I woke up during the morning and found the burn filled with dead fish.

“The water was practically black, you could barely see through four inches of the water and there were dead fish scattered across the burn, all the way upstream.

“SEPA visited on Wednesday and took a look at the water and did their own investigation. They said it was a mixture of different factors including a radical change in temperature.

Fish from the colder sea are being pulled into the burn by the tide and ending up in a warmer, shallow stream with no oxygen, so they just suffocated.”

Mr Eckersley confirmed that the dead fish, many of which were sea trout, have now been gathered up and taken away by Michael Fearns, the head bailiff for the River Annan.

He added: “The stream is clearer now.”

However, it’s the third time such an incident has occurred locally, with dead fish also found in the burn in 2018 and in 2020 they were spotted swimming erratically before floating to the surface.

DANGER FOR DUCKLINGS. . . With a shortage of fish and potentially polluted waters, how safe are other creatures that dwell in the burn?

A spokesperson for SEPA yesterday said: “SEPA received reports from members of the public of a number of dead fish on the Pow Water, Powfoot early on Tuesday, July 12.

“SEPA has attended and is undertaking extensive investigations, including inspections of activities in the area, has taken water samples and ecological assessments of the Pow Water to establish the cause.

“The inspections have identified a number of potential pollution issues which, coupled with low flows and current temperature conditions, may have contributed to deaths of the fish.

“Once SEPA has the results of the analysis of the samples, we will have a better understanding of the impact on the water environment.

“Investigations into these areas of concern are ongoing and, where possible, advice has been given to prevent reoccurrence.”

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