A major operation to evacuate the thousands of fish at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary got underway this morning after power to vital life support systems was lost during last night’s severe flooding.
Staff worked through the night after the sea breached defences and flood water poured into the building. Firefighters are still on the scene pumping out water this morning.
Special transport vehicles with their own life support were sent from Sea Life’s Dorset headquarters to provide emergency back-up, and the operation to remove the fish and take them to quarantine facilities in Weymouth, Dorset has now begun.
The sanctuary building has suffered serious damage but the full extent is as yet unknown.
General manager Nigel Croasdale praised the efforts of the fire service and his own staff.
He said: “My displays team and three other staff worked right through the night and we have all been very anxious about the welfare of our resident creatures.
“I cannot praise them highly enough, and so far their efforts have paid off with not a single fish or other resident lost.”
Electricity might not be restored to the building for days and all the animals would be moved to alternative facilities as quickly as possible.
Marine experts from Weymouth were supervising the transfer which focused on the fish first. The sanctuary’s resident otters and penguins are also likely to be relocated until power is restored and necessary repairs carried out.
The sanctuary will be closed to visitors until further notice and anyone who was planning to visit in the near future is advised to check the website beforehand.