Major fish kill in North Tipp river

Thursday, 26 July 2018

A major fish kill occurred in a river in North Tipperary last week and the incident was discussed by concerned councillors during the July meeting of Nenagh Municipal District.
Inland Fisheries Ireland confirmed last week that a large fish kill occurred on the Ollatrim River, a tributary of the Nenagh River. Fisheries officers attended the site at Ballinahemery Bridge near Ballymackey, Moneygall and Cloughjordan on Monday July 9 after receiving a report.
In total 14,749 fish were estimated to have been killed with dead fish observed over a five kilometre stretch of the river. The species affected included 1,400 brown trout, 10,500 lamprey, 805 stoneloach, 1,820 minnow, 70 salmon, 70 crayfish and 84 stickleback.
IFI immediately commenced an investigation following the discovery of the fish mortality. Indications are that the fish kill occurred on Sunday July 8. This is the largest fish kill of lamprey, a protected species, in recent years, and it is anticipated that recovery will take several years.
The cause of the incident appears to have been a chemical agent, possibly a herbicide or pesticide, which has now passed through the system. IFI said it will take up to five years for the river system to return to what it was before the kill.
Cllr Ger Darcy appealed to the farming community during last week's meeting to be very careful when using spraying equipment. He pointed out that herbicide and pesticide chemicals, even when diluted with water can be very toxic to fish and, indeed, all aquatic species.
IFI advised the farming community that any mixing of chemicals must be done far from natural watercourses. They pointed out that during the current unusually dry conditions the diluting waters are in short supply and therefore increase the toxicity of the chemical.
Members of the public can report incidents to Inland Fisheries by telephoning 1890 34 74 24.
Cllr Seamus Morris said he is very concerned about the general attitude towards our environment. He reminded the meeting that there was also a fish kill in the Ballina Stream in May and there were two further fish kills in June. He said these North Tipperary rivers eventually make their way to Lough Derg. Local anglers have expressed concern about these kills and about the quality of water around some popular bathing spots following these pollution incidents.
Cllr Morris asked the local authority to invest more time and energy in tackling this problem.
Cllr John Carroll commented that he is also very concerned. The local authority must be seen to be leading by example, he remarked. We don't have enough staff in our environmental section. We should recruit more because there is a lot of work to be done. The councillor said he hopes IFI will find and prosecute the person or persons responsible for the Ollatrim River fish kill. This was a disastrous event in this river, a tragedy. As a society we have to seriously examine the way we are treating our environment.


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