STAFF at Clacton Pier are undertaking a stock count of all species in its seaquarium.

The pier has had the seaquarium since the 1980s and it aims to raise awareness about sea life found in local waters and also promote conservation.

The annual exercise is being carried out by two full-time aquarists employed at the landmark attraction.

Among the species on display are smooth hound sharks, red-bellied piranha, clown fish, terrapins, and turtles.

All need to be fed and looked after on a daily basis and the pier works closely with a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) vet to ensure that it meets the required high standards.

Director Billy Ball said the seaquarium is regularly inspected and has to comply with very strict rules and regulations.

“We have brought in significant improvements in recent years, such as a fish welfare unit which is kitted out with equipment such as quarantine holding tanks for any new arrivals,” he said.

“We take our ethical responsibilities very seriously.

"As well as looking after our stock we need to ensure we pass the necessary tests for our zoo licence.

“It is not a sea life centre by any means, but it is somewhere customers can find out more about what is in the sea around us and learn about how we need to protect it for the future.”

The licence required is on the same lines as those for Colchester Zoo and Southend Sea Life Centre.

Mr Ball said that despite the site currently being closed due to Covid restrictions, vital works are still going on behind the scenes.