People urged not to rescue fish as lake almost dries up entirely

The pond has dried up as a result of the recent hot weather Credit: Spotted in Yate / Facebook

People are being urged not to try to rescue fish from a pond in Yate which has dried up almost entirely in the heatwave.

The pond at Westerleigh Common in Yate has virtually disappeared as a result of last week’s record temperatures.

Residents are now concerned for wildlife, as around 1,000 fish are normally inside the water.

One resident has called the pond a “muddy puddle of struggling fish” and there have been calls in community groups for people to try to rescue the fish.

However the Environment Agency and South Gloucestershire Council says all fish have been put there illegally - and people are being urged not to move them as they could carry diseases.

The Environment Agency has said the incident is not isolated.

“Every year, we respond to hundreds of reports of fish in distress because of dry and warm conditions," a spokesperson said.

"Where fish are trapped in drying sections of river, we need to act quickly to catch and transfer them to neighbouring reaches.

“They will wait here until autumn when rainfall allows them to recolonise upstream. In certain circumstances, we also support fisheries. However, fish in privately-owned ponds are the responsibility of the owner.

“There are strict rules on moving live fish due to the transmission of diseases and transfer of invasive non-native fish species which can have a big impact on other watercourses. The suitability of fish in certain locations could also create problems for the local wildlife.”

South Gloucestershire Council said the pond at Westerleigh Common is fed by ground and rainwater, so periodically dries during periods of low precipitation as part of its natural cycle.

They said: "As the pond isn’t connected to a watercourse, any fish have been introduced artificially and without permission.

"We urge people not to move fish around as they may well transmit diseases to other ponds or water bodies that contain wild fish, causing more harm than good.”