Call for probe after major '˜fish kill' in Co Armagh river

Calls for an investigation have been made after several hundreds of dead baby fish were found floating in a Co Armagh river.

Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:48 pm
Sinn Fein Cllr Fergal Lennon at the River Closet where there appears to be thousands of dead fish

The ‘fish kill’ happened at the Closet River near Lurgan and Sinn Fein Cllr Fergal Lennon called for an investigation.

Cllr Lennon contacted Rivers Agency and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council after members of the public became concerned.

He explained that the dead fish were spotted in a slow moving section of the river.

Dead fish in the Closet River near Lurgan

He said: “Acting on information from local residents I visited the Closet River and on confirming the presence of several hundred dead fish I alerted Rivers Agency.

“They in turn inform the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) who have a direct role in this type of situation.”

Noting that the majority of the fish he saw were very young, Cllr Lennon said: “There is a possibility that these young fish are part of a batch released as seedlings into Craigavon Lakes and I have informed Council Officers of the kill.”

He said it is ‘too soon to say whether the incident was as a result of natural factors, disease or pollution.

“I will remain in contact with the relevant authorities until an investigation has been completed and we know what caused this misfortune and see what action can be taken.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said: “A member of the public reported of a large number of dead fish in the Closet River, Lurgan, at 18:39 on 3 January 2019 via the water Pollution Hotline: 0800 80 70 60. NIEA tasked an officer to investigate the incident and alerted DAERA Inland Fisheries. Samples have been taken in accordance with procedure and the investigation is still ongoing.”