Fishing suspended in The Wash

Cockles
Cockles in quarantine after a pollution spillage has cause the closure of The Wash fishery Photo: David Bush/ITV Anglia

Fishing has been suspended in The Wash after thousands of fish died due to a chemical spill.

The Environment Agency has linked the spillage of 5,000 litres of toxic chemicals in the River Nene at Orton Southgate, near Peterborough, with the deaths. Fishermen in King's Lynn arrived back at port on Tuesday to be told they could land but not sell their catches of prawns, shrimps and cockles.

A seafood fishery has also been closed in the town on the advice of the Food Standards Agency.

Stocks landed are being tested for possible contamination and boats are not being allowed to fish today. Anglers are also being advised to stop fishing the Nene from Orton Mere to Wisbech.

A police spokesman said they were working with the Environment Agency to discover the cause of the spill.

"We're all really annoyed about it. We're sitting twindling our thumbs losing about £150 - 200 pounds a day while the Environment Agency decides what to do."

– Billy Mason, Fisherman
King's Lynn fishing fleet
The King's Lynn fishing fleet is laid up after The Wash fishery was closed by pollution. Credit: Natalie Gray/ITV Anglia

Stocks landed are being tested for possible contamination and boats are not being allowed to fish today. Anglers are also being advised to stop fishing the Nene from Orton Mere to Wisbech.

It is currently the height of the cockle season and King's Lynn boats would normally land two tons of cockles each a day.

A police spokesman said they were working with the Environment Agency to discover the cause of the spill.

Dead fish in the River Nene at Peterborough after a chemical spillage.
Dead fish in the River Nene at Peterborough after a chemical spillage. Credit: Stuart Leithes / ITV Anglia