At least 120 “giant” fish have been rescued from an old Saxon pond that dried up in hot weather.
Falmer Pond on East Street, Falmer, has been shrinking since July and people are witnessing dozens of dead fish struggling to survive in the “shallow puddle”.
People gathered at the pond on Sunday to save fish and discuss how to prevent future dehydration.
It came after Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed it would not attempt to refill the pond to save the dying non-native fish, believed to be ghost and carp.
Matt Thompsett, 64, who organized the gathering, said: “The response was beyond my wildest dreams, I think it just caught people’s emotions and imaginations.
“We struck gold, someone coming down had a friend who owns three large lakes with no fish near Hurstpierpoint so about 90 fish were caught there. It was perfect, there is no risk that her health will be affected.
“We wanted to make sure that wherever they went, they couldn’t end up in a natural watercourse. This is a high risk to their health.
“What I wanted to get across on a certain level is that we can’t just expect the council to do everything and pay for it. It’s a national thing.
“Communities need to get involved in their wild places and take responsibility. We have to be part of the solution.
“If we want these wild places to be protected, we have to get involved and roll up our sleeves.”
The Argus last month reported on fish struggling to survive in the Queen’s Park pond on West Drive, Brighton.
The council confirmed that these were “illegally dumped” and the pond was unsuitable for fish.
It said Falmer Pond was also unsuitable for fish, but confirmed a joint bid had been made with South Downs National Park to fund the restoration of the pond by removing silt in the bottom and patching leaks.
Almost 30 people turned out on Sunday and they have now formed a Friends of Falmer Pond group to help protect him in the future.
Falmer’s Matt added: “The most important thing was to agree on why we’re doing it. The consensus was not just something that looks good in photos, but to create an ecosystem. We wanted to do our part to protect the planet.
“We also started a group called Friends of Falmer Pond, people offered to provide donations, organize events, plant, do polls, all kinds of good ideas.
“We got fish out and also dug channels in the pond so those we couldn’t catch had a decent water depth to swim in.”
A spokesman for the council said: “We were unable to get the fish out of Falmer Pond for a number of legal and logistical reasons.
“But we understood very well the good intentions of the people involved in recovering them.
“Our park rangers asked for assurances that the fish would be moved to a safe location that meets Environmental Agency guidelines and encouraged those involved to conduct risk assessments to ensure their own safety.
“We are very interested in working with the Friends of Falmer Pond group on a more formal basis in the future on this and other issues that may arise.
“Our park rangers are an integral part of maintaining our parks and ponds. By working with local community groups, we will ensure our parks remain brilliant places to visit.
“Ultimately, the situation with the pond was caused by the long heatwave.
“It will almost certainly fill up again when some regular rains return.
“But the level of Falmer Pond is worrying and shows the extent of the drought we are facing across the region.
“A lottery funding offer has been submitted that aims to improve Falmer Pond and make it more resilient to drought conditions.”
For more information about the group, visit www.friendsoffalmerpond.org
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20659374.120-carp-saved-dried-falmer-pond-near-brighton/?ref=rss 120 carp rescued from dry Falmer Pond near Brighton