Inland Fisheries Ireland investigating significant fish kill on Ballygowan River, Claremorris, Co Mayo

Agency asks agricultural sector to be “extremely careful” in current hot weather

 

Friday 8th June 2018: On the evening of Wednesday 6th June officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland received a report from a member of the public in Claremorris, Co Mayo regarding a fish kill on the Ballygowan River (one of the prime spawning tributaries of the Robe River), which flows into Lough Mask.

Investigations are still ongoing. However, it is believed that the fish kill was the result of effluent of agricultural origin although the precise source has not as yet been identified. Local reports noted fish, primarily wild brown trout, in an agitated state in the river on Tuesday evening 5th June.

The stream where the mortalities occurred currently shows no sign of enrichment, and it is therefore probable that some polluting matter of a transient nature passed through the river and has since dissipated downstream.

Regretfully, over a thousand wild brown trout from 0-4 years old have been removed dead from the river. Other fish mortalities included stone loach and crayfish.

Given the extent of the damage to the river it will take some years for this stretch affected to make a full recovery.

Inland Fisheries Officers assess the death toll Claremorris June 2018

IFI officers at the scene in Claremorris

Greg Forde, Head of Operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Currently, water levels are at an all-time low and water temperatures are getting very high for trout and salmon. These factors combined can mean that a small amount of polluting matter can have devastating results. Inland Fisheries Ireland is calling on all farmers and silage contractors, in particular, to be extremely careful in the current conditions to ensure that no effluent is released near drains, streams and rivers, and silage clamps are properly bunded. Extreme care should be taken when spreading slurry to avoid all water courses in order to protect our valuable natural rivers and streams.”

The attached photos show just a proportion of the fish recovered by officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland following the fish kill.

Water samples have been taken for analysis and investigations are ongoing.

IFI is also asking the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource by reporting incidents or suspicions of illegal fishing to its confidential hotline number telephone 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

 

ENDS

 

Contact:

Paul O’Mahony

Communications Manager

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T: 353 (0) 1 8842675

 

Note to Editors:

 

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.