Campaign over Sheffield plans to cull thousands of fish

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CAMPAIGNERS have voiced disgust over plans to kill thousands of fish at a Sheffield beauty spot to make way for a housing development.

Property bosses have confirmed plans to ‘destroy’ the breeding fish at Morehall Fishery, Oughtibridge as it prepares to build more than 200 homes.

They say the fish have a virus.

Bloor Homes originally promised to relocate the fish to a nearby fishery, but now plan to press ahead with the destruction order after the Koi herpes virus was found in the water, a common disease which only affects carp.

The fishery will be closed at the end of this week, before its contents are netted and a new water treatment works will be put in its place.

Jamie Marshall, 33, a keen fisherman who visits Morehall said: “There are lots of fisheries which have the virus, it’s just not a lot of them own up to it. Rules state you have to leave them for four years but they don’t deserve to be killed.

“This will be a huge cull of tens of thousands of breeding fish which is totally unnecessary and devastating to the local and migrating birds and wildlife that depend on the fishery to survive. 
“There are hundreds of different species of animals and fish at Morehall Fisheries and a huge variety of wild flowers.

“It is one of the very few places in the country where the fish breed naturally.

“The stock in the fishery must be worth thousands and they’re going to kill them all.”

Mr Marshall claimed the fish would be thrown into tanks of anaesthetic, overdosed and then incinerated.

A Bloor Homes spokesman said the fishery was bought to relocate Stocksbridge Water Treatment works and a tenant had taken over the fishery on a short term.

He added: “The tenant restocked the fishery in full knowledge this was a short term project and was intending to remove and relocate the fish. However, just prior to the relocation it came to light that a serious notifiable disease was present. Unfortunately the fish cannot be moved and will have to be destroyed to prevent spreading the virus to other fisheries or into the river system.

“The netting of the fish and their humane destruction in order to control the virus will be undertaken shortly.”