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Investigation Over Major Fish Kill in Owentaraglin River, Cork

8th December 2016
Fish killed on the Owentaraglin River Fish killed on the Owentaraglin River

Inland Fisheries Ireland is investigating a major fish kill on the Owentaraglin River, a tributary of the Munster Blackwater River, in North West Cork. Fisheries Officers discovered more than 1,200 fish mortalities over a two kilometre stretch of the river near the village of Kiskeam.

Inland Fisheries Ireland immediately commenced investigations following discovery of the fish mortality and is following a direct line of enquiry. The cause of the fish kill is believed to be a large discharge of raw slurry into the river.

Fish species affected by the pollution in this important spawning river include salmon, brown trout, eel and stickleback. In particular, significant numbers of gravid hen salmon were among the mortalities. Aside from the large number of fish killed, there was significant damage to the spawning beds and wider aquatic habitat, which will have implications for the fish population in the area into the future.

Sean Long, Director of the South Western River Basin District said: “It will take years for River Owentaraglin to recover to its former condition as a result of this pollution. Inland Fisheries Ireland is reminding farmers of the importance of complying with EU Regulations on the storage or movement of slurry.

Recreational angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and supports upwards of 11,000 jobs, often in rural and peripheral communities. Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to protecting the fisheries resource for the communities it serves across the country and we are grateful to landowners and the farming community for their assistance in maintaining a clean and healthy environment in our lakes and rivers.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the public to report incidents by telephone 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

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