Workers from Essex & Suffolk Water carried out a rescue mission after several different species of fish made themselves at home in one of the settlement tanks at the waterworks at Layer de la Haye, near Colchester.
Water workers contacted local fisheries and experts in order to carry out the delicate operation, and get the hundreds of fish including Bream, Perch, Roach and Bullheads, to safety.
Nick Trice, Water Supply Manager for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “It’s not uncommon for wildlife to make itself at home in our settlement tanks - which store water from Abberton Reservoir before the treatment process begins.
“We noticed that there was an awful lot of fish in the tanks, so we got in touch with our resident conservation team who were able to give us advice on how best to rescue and relocate them in the safest way possible.”
The water tanks were drained down to a safe level before the company’s contractors could come in.
Then, specially confined-space-trained employees were able to hand net the fish from the tank and transfer them into fish slings.
Essex & Suffolk Water then worked with two fishing clubs in the area, Colchester Angling Preservation Society (CAPS) in Colchester and Blind Lane Fisheries in Chelmsford, who transferred the fish to oxygenated tanks and subsequently into new waters where they were then rehomed.
Dr Kim Wallis, Conservation Advisor for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “I work very closely with project managers and colleagues to provide ecological advice, as well as keeping an eye out for wildlife across our sites. Rescuing the fish really was a team effort and it’s lovely to have been able to rehome them.”
If you are out and about and have spotted fish in need, call the Environment Agency's 24-hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60.