Tropical fish found in Sherwood stream baffles residents

A FISH OUT OF WATER: The Redtail Catfish

A FISH thought to be native to South America confused residents after it was spotted in a stream in Tunbridge Wells.

The fish, now confirmed to be a Redtail Catfish, was discovered by local residents walking past Greggswood Stream near Ashenden Walk last Monday, May 22.

Paul Kent, who was walking his friend’s dog, Chester came across the fish which had died in the shallow stream.

He told the Times: “I was taking the dog for a walk on Monday afternoon when I came across the poor fish in the cut through in the wooded area.

“I’ve come across footballs, even rubber ducks in that tiny stream before but I wasn’t sure what I was seeing when I came across it.

“Even the dog Chester did a double take. I’ve never seen a fish of any size in that stream before in the 30 years I’ve lived there.

“Due to the size, I thought maybe be it was a toy fish as how a fish of that size became stranded there was a real surprise.”

Sarah Burgess, who also saw the fish and posted photos online, told the Times: “I was walking along the public footpath after work, and I glanced down and saw this huge fish.

“It had to be over two foot long and it was just lying there. I think it was trying to swim up stream to warmer water but didn’t make it.”

Within minutes local anglers were quick to identify the tropical fish as a Redtail Catfish which is native to South America but is legal to own in the UK.

This is a species of fish which is often sold small in aquatic shops but can grow on average between three to four foot and it often surprises people when it outgrows its tank.

Mr Kent said: “I had a feeling it was a Catfish but absolutely no idea it was a tropical variety that can grow to 6 feet!”

“It’s very sad that someone clearly dumped the fish either in the stream or Sherwood Lake with no hope of survival.

“Someone on Facebook thought there might be more in the Lake.”

Mr Kent contacted the Environment Agency who removed the fish on Wednesday May 24, afternoon.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We have received several reports of a dead catfish. We have identified the fish as a Redtailed catfish, which is native to South America.

“Releasing any fish into the wild has the potential to cause massive ecological impacts, especially non-native species which could cause huge damage to the environment.

“We ask that people report any sightings or instances of this happening on our 24 / 7 incident line: 0800 807060, as it’s a serious offence due to the impact it could have on the river systems.”

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