Pier calls time on goldfish prizes on stall

  • 8 August, 2018
  • Entertainment
  • On the pier


Bosses at Clacton Pier are calling time on
goldfish being given away as prizes from a game stall.

The practice will end in a couple of weeks as
part of a new lease agreement with the stall tenant.

The move comes following a promise made in the
winter to review the situation after the Pier received a number of complaints
from individuals as well as contact from Essex Animal Defenders.

Billy Ball, Managing Director at the Pier,
said that the matter had been given a great deal of consideration at board

“We have always accepted that there are two
sides to this issue; some are strongly against goldfish being given out as
prizes, and we appreciate that, while others are keen for it to continue – as
evidenced by the numbers using the stall,” he said.

“Our position was that it is not illegal, and
the stall was checked out by the RSPCA and given a clean bill of health in
terms of how they looked after the fish. There are strict laws in place that
have to be followed and it has been going on from fairgrounds for many, many

“However, we are not in the business of
upsetting people and needed to make a decision. On balance we have decided that
this practice will not take place next season.

“We are currently in a legally binding
contract with the tenant, but this is due for renewal at the end of the season
and we will make the change for 2019. That means there will be no goldfish
handed out by mid-September.”

Mr Ball added that the stall holder is very
responsible, has been operating for more than 40 years and gets his goldfish
from a specialist pet shop supplier.

He does not give them to anyone under 16
unless they are with an adult; he has plastic bowls for sale for £5 along with
fish food and hands out advice on how they should be looked after. Those
playing the game are also offered alternatives to goldfish.

“We know that some people will be disappointed
about this decision and you cannot please everybody all the time,” said Mr
Ball. “After a lot of careful thought, we believe that this is the best way

According to social media, a protest by Essex
Animal Defenders is due to be held outside the Pier on Saturday (August 11)
with seven people signed up to take part.

Mr Ball was keen to stress that this decision
has been made over recent months and the Pier was waiting for the renewal of
the contract to make the change.

“In view of the possible protest we felt it
was important to make our position clear and put it out it in the public domain
now,” he added.

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