MORE than 100 fish have died because of harmful algae taking over a lake.

Dog walker John Lashmar, 62, spotted the fish, believed to be carp, floating on the surface of the water as he went for a walk around Smallgains Lake, off Smallgains Avenue, Canvey.

The lake contains blue-green algae, which starves the water of oxygen, causing fish to die of suffocation.

It is also poisonous to humans and animals, such as dogs.

Mr Lashmar said: “The fish were all swimming close to the surface and gasping for air the day before, so I thought there might be something wrong.

“Then yesterday I went back and all the little ones were dead on the surface of the pond.

“The council should have been looking after them better. They should have installed an oxygen system to prevent this from happening.”

Mr Lashmar, who passes the lake most days, added: “It really is terrible and quite upsetting these fish have died.

“It is not very nice for the people who have walked past and seen them.

“The lake is very popular and it will be distressing for people to see this.”

The Echo previously reported that 100 fish died after they were moved from Canvey Lake, in Denham Road- where fishing isn’t allowed- to Smallgains Lake.

In 2013, fishing restrictions were also put on Smallgains.

A spokesman for Castle Point Council said: “We have removed 109 fish from the lake and water samples have been taken.

“The fish are illegal stock that have been put in the lake.

“We will continue to remove the dead fish.”

The algae can cause rashes if it touches skin, illness if swallowed, and can kill dogs.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We had a report of dead fish at Smallgains Lake on Canvey. “Environment Agency officers have been out to investigate and have confirmed in excess of 100 fish have died. “On visual inspection, the most likely cause is blue green algae, but this will be confirmed with further tests.

“We will monitor the lake and support Castle Point Council, who will give advice to the public.”