Gosport council shows climate change is responsible for town's fish dying off

FISH in Gosport waters have been dying off in ‘several’ locations throughout the town, according to a new report.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:00 am

After the ‘distressing’ sight of dead fish in Fort Brockhurst moat last August, following the hot summer, Gosport Borough Council set up a task group to investigate what was happening.

At a climate board meeting last week, councillors and officers presented their findings.

They say that while an exact cause cannot be determined, periods of hot, dry weather will have contributed to their death – with major incidents at Alverstoke Lake, Fort Brockhurst moat and Elmore Lake.

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Hundreds of fish died in Alver Creek during the heatwave last summer. Picture: Richard Lemmer

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Labour councillor for Town, Cllr June Cully, said: ‘All of the support we have had has enabled us to identify the areas that need some work, and some funding.

‘It also identified what the climate has done to these areas, and it has been valuable for us to all understand the effects.

The moat around Fort Brockhurst is just one of the areas where fish have been dying. Picture: Paul Jacobs (142641-3)

‘I look forward to seeing the improvements that can be brought about.’

With climate change leading to longer, hotter summers, there are concerns that this die-off could become an annual trend.

In Alverstoke Lake, is was discovered that the climate had caused increased water temperatures and salinity, but reduced oxygenation for wildlife.

Similar issues were outlined at Fort Brockhurst moat, and Elmore Lake.

Going for Green was launched by The News this week in conjunction with Portsmouth Climate Action Board

Last summer, Alver Creek in Gosport dried out in the heatwave and a lack of oxygen killed hundreds of fish. Residents did what they could to save the stricken animals.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Brockhurst, Cllr Siobhan Mitchell, was the one who initially called for action over the die-off.

She said: ‘My thanks go to everyone involved. I think it became a lot more complex than we thought to find a root cause of the problems, but a very interesting group.’

For Alverstoke Lake, task group members believe repairs must be made to the sluice gate, which controls water levels and flow rates.

At Fort Brockhurst, English Heritage has pledged to recruit volunteers to clear up the moat in anticipation for the fort’s reopening post-Covid pandemic.

The issue in Elmore Lake is water retention – and the koi carp in the water may need relocating by Streetscene.

Conservative councillor for Alverstoke, Cllr Kevin Casey, says the task group has proven to be a cross-party success.

‘The group worked well,’ he said.

‘This is the beginning of a useful report to deal with issues that come up, and be more prepared for the future.’

The News has launched a new climate change campaign this week, called Going for Green.

In conjunction with Portsmouth Climate Action Board, we want to highlight how readers across the local area can make a difference.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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