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Galway Landowner Convicted Over River Pollution Incident

1st June 2017
An immediate inspection revealed large numbers of dead fish in the river over almost 1km downstream An immediate inspection revealed large numbers of dead fish in the river over almost 1km downstream

#Angling - A landowner has been convicted of a breach to the Water Pollution Act in Glenamaddy, Co Galway that resulted in a major fish kill.

At a sitting of Tuam District Court, Michael Conneally of Boyounagh, Glenamaddy pleaded guilty to permitting silage effluent to enter the Yellow River, a tributary of the Clare River in Co Galway, on 15 June 2016.

David Harrington, senior fisheries environmental officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), gave evidence of tracing the source of the fish kill back to a pipe originating from a silage pit on Conneally’s land.

The pollution incident resulted in damage to fish stock in the Yellow River, which is an important spawning tributary for salmon and trout with the absence of aquatic life noted for a considerable distance downstream, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Conneally fully co-operated with officers from IFI and sought to remedy the incident without delay. However, the polluting matter had already impacted the river.

Judge Mary Devins convicted Conneally and fined him €750 with three months to pay, as well as laboratory expenses of €464.94 and legal costs of €600.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “We would appeal to farmers for continued vigilance to help protect our waterways from agricultural pollution.

“At this time of year, silage is in full swing and silage effluent can be a highly toxic substance when it gets into rivers, starving the fish and invertebrate life of oxygen. This incident on the Clare River highlights the large impact one leak can have on our fisheries resource.”

The Clare River is the largest tributary of Lough Corrib, and sees thousands of salmon and trout run the river to spawn every year. It provides a valuable angling facility for local and tourist anglers in the West of Ireland.

There are six different angling clubs along the river who have made significant investment in recent years to help improve the spawning and nursery habitat for salmon and trout. The clubs rely on the responsible environmental stewardship of local farmers to maintain the Clare River as a key angling resource.

Angling in Ireland currently contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually, supporting upwards of 11,000 jobs.

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