Hundreds of fish are left dead

Paul Hutchinson, a committee member of the Scarborough Mere Angling Club, holds a dead baby chubb, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weeken'd torrential rainfall.  Picture by Andrew Higgins  112801a   11/07/11
Paul Hutchinson, a committee member of the Scarborough Mere Angling Club, holds a dead baby chubb, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weeken'd torrential rainfall. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112801a 11/07/11
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AS many as 200 fish have died at a Scarborough lake after being starved of oxygen.

The fish were left desperately gasping for air at Scarborough Mere after the lake’s oxygen levels plummeted following the recent weather.

Scarborough Mere Angling Club secretary Andy Maccallough(front left) and committee member Paul Hutchinson, with white watch firefighters Pete Waudby(back left), Will Warwick and Rob Hanlon as they turn their hoses onto the Mere to aerate the water, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weekend's torrential rainfall left hundreds of fish dead or gasping for oxygen at the water surface.   Picture by Andrew Higgins  112801d   11/07/11

Scarborough Mere Angling Club secretary Andy Maccallough(front left) and committee member Paul Hutchinson, with white watch firefighters Pete Waudby(back left), Will Warwick and Rob Hanlon as they turn their hoses onto the Mere to aerate the water, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weekend's torrential rainfall left hundreds of fish dead or gasping for oxygen at the water surface. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112801d 11/07/11

Firefighters yesterday pumped gallons of water back into the site’s Match Lake to increase the air flow.

Environment Agency bosses confirmed the changeable atmospheric pressure was the cause with tests showing the lake’s air level was just 20 per cent oxygen after the heavy downpours.

In contrast, The Mere’s sister lakes had 132 per cent and 118 per cent oxgyen respectively.

Andy Maccalaugh, junior match secretary for Scarborough Mere Angling Club, said the lake would be closed for three days while water pumps - including one borrowed from Wykeham Lakes - worked to aerate the lake.

A dead baby chubb, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weekend's torrential rainfall, leaving hundreds of fish dead or gasping for oxygen at the water surface.   Picture by Andrew Higgins  112801j   11/07/11

A dead baby chubb, after a mystery substance polluted the Mere competition lake, via an inlet stream, after this weekend's torrential rainfall, leaving hundreds of fish dead or gasping for oxygen at the water surface. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112801j 11/07/11

He said: “The fish were coming to the surface gasping for air.

“They were so lethargic you could actually lift them out of the water.

“I have never seen anything like it before. It hasn’t affected the bigger fish but roach, chubb and barble have suffered.

“You don’t realise the sheer volume of fish in that lake but when this was happening you could see so many of them coming to the surface.”

Mr Maccalaugh said the club, which has around 270 members, would cope with the situation but said it had been a worrying time.

He added: “If it had been any worse we would have struggled to get back on our feet. We’ve had to cancel some junior matches which is a big blow for the youngsters too.”