Pier calls time on goldfish prizes on stall

by Nigel Brown Aug 08 2018 12     16,317
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August 7, 2018


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 level.

“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 years.

“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 forward.”

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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Nix 4 years ago

My 3 boys won a gold fish 5 years ago and it's still going strong.We have another gold fish who is 10 years old aswell.

Charley 5 years ago

My brother won a goldfish last May, the little fish is still alive and well today!

Harry 6 years ago

I was there over the Bank Holiday weekend and goldfish were still being given away as prizes. Can you confirm when this will stop?

Clacton Pier 6 years ago

Thank you all for your comments, in a quick response to a couple of the opinions above, we would again like to clarify that we undertook to review the position on gold fish last year. This was as promised and our board took time to carefully consider the piers position on this matter. At that point it was agreed that upon renewal of the tenants agreement the stall holder would no longer be permitted to offer gold fish as prizes. This clause could not be put in place immediately by the pier as the stall holder was under an existing legally binding agreement which the pier was unable to change or alter. The renewed lease will simply add a new clause revoking the ability to offer live animals as prizes from the date of renewal which is in time for next season. Therefore, we are powerless to "stop this now" but are fully committed and in charge of the piers future and all that it offers and so for absolute clarity the pier will not be offering fish as prizes from September 2018. Thanks for all your posts. CP

Denise jamieson 6 years ago

Stop this now!

Leigh 6 years ago

It says in the article that people enjoy winning goldfish from the stall but I bet the goldfish don’t enjoy a single minute of it being carried around in the sun for hours in that tiny tub, probably dying very soon after being taken home by tourists that live miles away who will never buy the right facilities for them to live in. It’s shocking to see that the pier thinks that it was ok to do that to living animals.

Jack 6 years ago

Hopefully it actually stops this time, the pier should be a place to have fun, not a place for cruelty to take place! I'll be back to check every season to see that this decision is stuck to!

Fish Lover 6 years ago

You said you were going to stop this last year but it didn't happen. How do we know it's true this time?

Samantha Bubb 6 years ago

Great news!!!

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