22/09/2009

Thorough Probe Demanded As Fish Die

More than 200 dead fish - 150 trout and 55 salmon - have been found on the Shima river in Co Down.

The discovery was made just below the Fofany water treatment works near Spelga dam.

This afternoon, South Down Sinn Féin MLA Willi Clarke has called for a full and thorough investigation into this cause: "There should be a full investigation through the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and assurances need to be given that the cause has been identified, solutions found and guarantees given that this will not happen again."

Moreover, he added: "I have raised this matter at the Regional Development Committee this morning, demanding an update on the discharges in to the Shimna River."

Water quality inspectors had earlier visited the site and confirmed there had been a fish kill.
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A spokesman from NIEA said: "Inspectors carried out an investigation in order to identify the source, after being alerted by a member of the public last Sunday."

The fish kill is just the latest in a series of such incidents, with large numbers of fish having been killed on local waters in the past - often due to the pollution.

According to figures released by a Government watchdog earlier this year, farm pollution causes most of these fish kills in Northern Ireland's waterways, although there are other sources.

However, despite NIEA actions, fish kills continue and discussions are on going about imposing larger fines and even jail term to help solve the problem.

Meanwhile, there are also efforts being made to assist farmers' efforts to protect the environment.

See: Further Fish Kill Probed

See: Fish Kills Targeted

(CL/BMcC)

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