HUNDREDS of carp have been rescued in ponds at a Llanelli park — with some weighing as much as 15 pounds.
Recovered from the lakes around Llanelli's Millennium Coastal Park, the fish were saved before water levels were dropped deliberately as part of a scheme aiming to eradicate an alien species of fish.
The top-mouthed gudgeon has been wiping out all egg and embryonic pond life.
The Environment Agency ran successful test eradication on one pond at the park in September and planned to start on the other ponds in December, but snow and frozen weather held up the operation's timetable.
The top-mouthed gudgeon is a small fish, not much bigger than a minnow, but it attacks all egg and early development life in ponds and lakes.
The large carp were not endangered by the top-mouth gudgeon — but their eggs were.
Water levels were reduced in the ponds and a boat imported to remove weed from them.
The operation involved large reed cutting machines that will improve the pond environment and enable restocking of the ponds and the establishment of a professionally run club fishery.
The fish removed have gone to a secret location and will not be returned until later in the year.
Carmarthenshire Council executive board member for leisure Councillor Meryl Gravell said: "The problem with top-mouth gudgeon persists county-wide, but we are fortunate the Environ- ment Agency has selected the MCP as one of the first eradication locations at no cost to the authority.
"This will enable us to achieve clean ponds and hopefully establish a fishing club academy based on the MCP which will further enhance its leisure appeal.
"We have already been approached by clubs who will be happy to manage and police the lakes from a fishing perspective."
In November, traps were also laid in the park capture the wild black mink, which was reported to have taken small dogs and threatened a conservation programme for water voles. The programme was carried out by Llanelli Water Vole Action Group.