'Sewage' in Leeds & Liverpool canal kills more than 1,000 fish

Dead fish in Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Image caption One boat owner said the dead fish were "a very sad sight"

"Sewage" or "farm run-off" may have caused the death of more than 1,000 fish during a "pollution incident" in a canal, a waterways charity has said.

Boat owners reported seeing fish in a "distressed" state on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Leigh on Thursday, the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) said.

Hydrogen peroxide has now been added to the water to increase oxygen levels.

Fisheries officer Paul Breslin said something that was not "immediately toxic" was probably to blame.

"When you see fish in distress, you know you have to raise oxygen levels," he said.

"It's looking like... organic material may have got into the canal, which means it would break down in the water - it's possibly sewage, farm run-off [or] something which uses oxygen up."

Image copyright EA
Image caption Environment agency officers have been treating the canal with hydrogen peroxide

Boat owner John Gallimore, who was moored nearby, said it was "a very sad sight".

"There was just a sea of fish," he said.

"I saw a small perch actually jumping out of the water - I have never seen anything like this before."

The Environment Agency said an investigation into what had happened had begun.

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