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Lake closure ‘a blow to town’s tourism’

Fairhaven Lake in Lytham has been closed due to red algae

Fairhaven Lake in Lytham has been closed due to red algae

The closure of Fairhaven Lake’s waters has been described as ‘another blow’ following sea water test failures in St Annes.

The Lake’s waters were this week closed to members of the public after an outbreak of algae which has caused the death of thousands of fish.

No date has been set for the Lake’s boating and watersports facilities to re-open after it was closed by Fylde Council officials, following the discovery of high levels of red algae in the water.

The algae, which drains oxygen levels, has caused more than 1,500 plaice, eel and flounder to die already.

Facilities around the lake remain open, but sailing, motor boat use and rowing is banned until the situation improves.

Holiday Association of Lytham St Annes (HALSA) president Barbara Mackenzie said the closure was bad news for holidaymakers and residents, after recent sea water test failures.

Earlier this year it was revealed beaches at St Annes had failed water quality testing and could be blacklisted under EU regulations from 2015.

She added: “It’s not good it’s going to be closed.

“What a shame. Coming on the back of the water tests for the beach, this just adds to the problem. People rely on holiday money and tourism and keeping business going.”

It is believed a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions has led to the red algae bloom including a rise in temperatures, bird waste and the layout of the lake.

And Jackie Carrier, owner of the Fairhaven Lake Cafe with business partner Jane Sargeson, said misleading signs around the lake had given the impression the venue was closed, including the facilities around the tourist hotspot.

She added: “We have never been shut – the impression it gives is the whole area is shut.

“The algae is nature. I would not say it was a shock as this can happen at any time.”

Julie Vale, visitor officer at the RSPB visitor centre, which attracts 55,000 people a year, said: “It’s very upsetting to see the fish and eels struggling.

“It’s not a nice situation but you feel the way the lake is set up, with the concrete sides, clay bottom and Canada geese migrating, along with the hot weather, has caused this situation.

“There is a lack of oxygen in the water because not much grows underneath the surface, while the geese waste has nutrients which cause the algae to bloom.”

Fairhaven Coun Cheryl Little said the Environment Agency was working to improve the situation, which has seen thousands of dead fish line the surface of the lake.

She added: “Taking into consideration it’s a blow for tourism, it’s a blow for the wildlife.

“I was there last week when it was just starting and it’s distressing. I have had quite a few calls from residents who have seen what is happening. We are doing the best we can.”

Fylde Council officers closed the lake to the public on Friday in a bid to control the algae outbreak.

Pumps and fountains were turned on to aerate the water after oxygen levels had dropped to just five per cent.

A Fylde Council spokesman confirmed the algae was non-poisonous and non-toxic, but said the situation was improving and hoped it would be days rather than weeks before the lake re-opened.

An Environment Agency spokesman added: “Red Algae caused the death of more than 1,500 plaice, flounder and eel in Fairhaven Lake last weekend.

“An algal bloom occurs when the weather conditions are warm and dry and fish are affected because it starves water of the vital oxygen supplies they need.

“Our officers used aeration equipment in the lake over the weekend and we are supporting the council with their lake management plan for the 
future.”

 

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