Rochford Reservoir seal nicknamed ‘Nelson’ by locals

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A SEAL who has feasted on a fishing lake supply for more than a month avoiding capture has become a local celebrity.

Nicknamed “Nelson” by residents, the seal has been eaten as estimated £4,000 of fish since settling in the Marks Hall fishery lake in Rochford Reservoir on December 12.

The seal is believed to have been made its way up the River Roach from the sea, and is now happily eating the fish in the reservoir.

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People have been flocking to catch a glimpse of the famed fish-eating seal, according to photographer Simon Murdoch.

“He has become quite a star with lots of people visiting the lake to watch it every day now,” Mr Murdoch said.

“Apparently it is blind in the left eye and has now been given the nickname Nelson.”

It has already managed to evade British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s (BDMLR) efforts of capture.

The organisation – which rescued 365 seals around the UK in 2021 – says it is preparing for a third rescue mission and will set a date in the coming weeks.

“It’s still in there eating all the fist and racking up quite the bill,” Nick North, who has been the licence holder for 11 years at Marks Hall Fisheries.

“We are getting close to £4,000 worth of wish gone I believe,” he said.

“We need a rescue mission to be completed soon before it exhausts the whole supply.

“It’s taken me a long time to build the fishing lake into what it is, all for it to be whisked away in just a few weeks.”

He added: “You would never imagine a thing like this would happen; I’m still lost for words about what has happened.

A fishing ban is in place on the lake and will remain in place until it is captured.

Councillor Dave Sperring, responsible for the environment, said: “We apologise for any inconvenience to fishers, but would ask all residents to keep their distance from the area for the safety of the seal and for themselves, and please keep your dog on a lead.”





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