Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 16:46 UK

Chemical caused canal fish deaths

Dead fish in Rochdale canal
More than 15,000 fish have died in the canal

More than 15,000 fish which died in a Greater Manchester canal were killed by a chemical substance which polluted the water, an investigation has revealed.

The identity of the chemical found in Rochdale Canal will be revealed by the Environment Agency after it has conducted further investigations.

It is thought the fish died on Saturday but took time to float to the surface.

The pollution is believed to have been contained to the stretch of canal between Bradgate and Failsworth.

British Waterways staff have been on site removing and disposing of the fish - pike, perch and roach - since the weekend.

Fisheries officers, ecologists and Environment Agency officers are now conducting a number of surveys in the area.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "The results of the water samples taken from the canal revealed that the fish were killed as a result of a chemical pollution.

"However, we cannot reveal the exact chemical involved for investigative reasons.

"As far as we understand, the pollution was a one-off incident and do not believe it to be ongoing.

"We are not aware of any wildlife being affected by the pollution but, purely as a precaution, we are recommending that people avoid having direct contact with the water and keep their dogs out of the water too."

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