It may well be part of seaside tradition, but as of September, winning a goldfish will be a thing of the past at Clacton Pier.
Times are-a-changing at Clacton Pier, where Billy Ball and the rest of the management team have decided to end the age-old practice of giving goldfish as prizes for stall wins.
A new lease agreement hammered out with the stall tenant will see goldfish prohibited as a redemption prize, and is due to come into effect in the next few weeks.
Pier management had initially pledged to address the goldfish issue last winter, after animal-welfare concerns were raised by a number of individuals – as well as local animal rights activists the Essex Animal Defenders.
There is no law prohibiting the keeping and selling of fish as prizes in the UK, provided that the creatures are looked after in accordance to standard. The stall in question has been repeatedly scrutinised by the RSPCA throughout its forty years of operations, passing all requisite inspection protocols throughout.
For that reason, Ball said the issue had been polarising 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. “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.”
The announcement comes as the pier makes efforts to step up its customer-up outreach efforts. Just last week it announced that a plan to rebrand the Jolly Roger building – the oldest standing structure on the pier – would be suspended for the time being, in deference to the wishes of local patrons.
With goldfish prizes synonymous with the traditional seaside amusement win,Ball acknowledged that the pier’s ruling on the matter might ruffle feathers, but insisted: “After a lot of careful thought, we believe this is the way forward.”
As of writing, a small protest organised by the aforementioned Essex Animal Defenders, scheduled to take place on Saturday, was cancelled in recognition of the pier’s announcement.
Yeah. An actual protest. About goldfish.