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Dublin: 20°C Sunday 26 September 2021
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Largest fish kill of the year linked to heat wave and algal bloom

Around 5,000 fish mortalities have been estimated.

Samples of pike taken from Barnagrow Lake.
Samples of pike taken from Barnagrow Lake.
Image: Inland Fisheries Ireland

THE LARGEST FISH kill of the year has been linked to “very high” water temperatures recorded during the recent heatwave.

The fish kill was recorded at Barnagrow Lake in Co Cavan, within the Annalee River and Upper Erne catchment area.

Environmental and fisheries officers were alerted to the incident, near the town of Shercock, by a call from a member of the public earlier this week.

Initial investigations indicate that the severe algal bloom, combined with high water temperatures and low oxygen levels recorded in the lake, are likely responsible for the incident.

The state body estimates there could be more than 5,000 fish mortalities, including species such as bream, roach, perch and pike.

fish-2 Source: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Dr Milton Matthews, director of the north-western river basin district with Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Unfortunately, this is a very significant fish kill affecting several year classes of coarse fish and is the largest reported fish kill nationally to date in 2021.

During the recent heatwave, very high water temperatures were noted at several angling locations, with temperatures of over 26 degrees centigrade for example recorded in Lough Sheelin, Co Cavan.

“In the days preceding the fish kill at Barnagrow Lake, a severe algal bloom was noted by Inland Fisheries Ireland staff, which together with very high water temperatures recorded locally, which were 22 degrees centigrade, likely resulted in this serious fish kill event due to reduced oxygen levels in the water.”

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Fish samples have been taken from the lake and removed for further analysis.

Members of the public are encouraged to report fish kills or sightings of fish under distress by calling Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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