RECENT fish-kill on the Lagan has been declared a severe setback
by an angling club controlling a stretch of river from
Thorneyford Bridge, Dromore to Spencers Bridge, Moira.
Iveagh Angling Club controls angling on the 14-mile stretch of
limestone river and this year spent £250,000 of European grant
money on enhancing the river as a brown trout fishery.
Less than two weeks ago about 1,000 brown
trout were killed at Banogue, Donacloney, along with pike,
gudgeon, eels, stone loaches and other aquatic life including
shrimp, sedge pupae and mayfly nymphs that fish depend on for
Iveagh Angling Club secretary Gary Houston
said: "Approximately one kilometre of river has been destroyed.
Environment and Heritage staff and officers from Fisheries
conservancy board attended the incident.
"Statutory water samples were taken for
chemical analysis. The pollutant seems to have entered the River
Lagan via a small stream."
Mr. Houston said the club hoped that the
source of pollution had been identified by Environment and
Heritage Service staff.
He went on to say: "Two complete fish kills
have occurred on the River Lagan in this area in the last five
years, killing all the fish between Donacloncy and Moira. "The
Banogue stretch of the river had just recovered from this
previous pollution only to have this; it is a severe setback for
the Iveagh Angling Club," he added.
Mr. Houston said the club estimated the
designated wild brown trout fishery would need a seven-year
hatchery based programme of restocking with native yearling fish
to re-establish its viability.
"In the event of a successful prosecution by
Fisheries Conservancy Board for loss of fish," he said, "we will
proceed with prosecution for loss of amenity (being able to
fish) and for the costs of biological surveys and the hatchery
and stocking costs for the next seven years."
Mr. Houston added hopes for more significant
fines and better environmental regulation.