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"Catastrophic" - fish kill in Limerick river wipes out trout population

“Virtually nothing has been left alive,” say Inland Fisheries.

Image: Shutterstock/L@rRy

A HUGE FISH kill on the Drumcamogue River in Co Limerick has been described as “catastrophic” by a senior representative of Ireland’s Inland Fisheries.

“Virtually nothing has been left alive,” Michael Fitzsimons, senior fisheries environmental officer with Inland Fisheries, told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

This was a very important spawning stream, the most productive area of the river, and it’s almost a total loss. I think I saw one fish alive during my inspection.

Almost all of the nearly 5,000 dead fish recovered were trout, with some salmon, loach and stickleback found dead also.

While the exact cause of the kill is not yet officially known, Fitzsimons did confirm that a “chemical spill or organic discharge” is the most likely culprit.

if1 A selection of some of the dead fish found on the Drumcamogue river Source: Inland Fisheries

“This is an agricultural area, and whatever did this was a very strong effluent which has since passed,” he said.

The most powerful effluent in a situation like this is often silage, but I can’t say if this has happened accidentally as we don’t know as yet.
The plume has passed, so the only way to trace this now is to get on the ground and start searching and walking.

Tipperary and Limerick County Councils are working together to try and trace the reason for the spill around farms in the local area.

Fitzsimons added that if sufficient evidence of dubious activity is found there would be grounds for charges and prosecution of the offenders.

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