Dead fish numbers ‘expected to rise’
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
OFFICIALS investigating a huge fish kill in Bessbrook River fear that the number of dead fish could rise.
At least 300 fish of a variety of species were found in the river by Loughs Agency officers on Thursday - with that number expected to rise once visibility in the water improves.
The dead fish include Brown Trout, Roach and Eels.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) said the environmental impact has been assessed as being of "High Severity".
Loughs Agency and NIEA identified the source of the pollution and have stopped it. The two groups are currently preparing a file on the matter, although it is unclear at this stage if they are to proceed with prosecutions.
“On Thursday afternoon the NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) received a report of pollution in the Bessbrook River," said a NIEA spokesperson.
“An NIEA Water Quality Inspector immediately visited the area to investigate the report and determine the environmental impact. The Inspector confirmed that the river was severely impacted with farm effluent, and his investigation identified the source of the pollution and ensured that it was immediately stopped.
“Further investigation revealed a fish kill had occurred. Statutory samples have been collected with a view to pursuing appropriate enforcement action, once the investigation is complete.
“An initial count by Loughs Agency Officers revealed approximately 60 dead fish of a variety of species. Poor visibility in the water is hindering an accurate count; however the number of fatalities is expected to rise as the water clears."
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: "I am concerned about this. I will be monitoring developments here closely along with NIEA officials."
Members of the public are asked to call the following telephone number if they become aware of water pollution incidents - Water Pollution Hotline (0800 807060).
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