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Comment by Debbie Meadows

The Independent and other news agencies reported a major fish kill in the Glore River and an investigation is underway as to how hundreds of protected wild salmon and many trout were found dead in Co Mayo.

Excerpt from Independent 5 th September 2021

Enforcement agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), has categorised the incident at the Glore River in Kiltimagh as “serious”. The agency believes more than 500 young salmon and trout have been wiped out in the river which provides important spawning grounds within the Moy River catchment which is renowned for its fishing.

Any kill of this scale at this crucial time for the fish threatens the reproduction cycle and could decimate stocks in the river for the next few years.

Environmental and fisheries officers were alerted to the incident on Friday 3 rd September and worked over the weekend to assess the extent of the damage. Water and fish samples have been taken from the scene for laboratory tests to determine if pollution caused the deaths. Agricultural run-off, sewage discharges and industrial waste are the main causes of fish kills in Irish rivers, with disease and increasing spells of extreme weather also playing a part. Tracking the source of a pollution incident can be notoriously difficult and successful prosecutions are few.

“Investigations are ongoing and Inland Fisheries Ireland is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken,” a spokesperson said. Ireland’s wild salmon are protected and can be fished only under licence as their numbers dwindle due to overfishing, poor river water quality and sea lice spread from some intensive salmon farming activities.

Debbie Meadows – Personal Comment

Having spoken with several people in Kiltimagh, I understand that this is the second known fish kill resulting from output of “clearing tanks” at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Centre. Despite numerous failed attempts to obtain a follow up report from the Mayo County Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Environmental Protection Agency for the first reported violation, residents in Kiltimagh feel that this second violation will again go under the radar and proper accountability evaded.

In the past three years the EPA have made only three successful prosecutions cases in Ireland which have resulted in Council fines of between €1000 – €2000. Please may I urge my EMAA fellow members to report to our Water Bailiffs any sightings of dead fish and to the IFI.

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