Northern Ireland

Major fish kill in polluted salmon river in Claudy

Dead fish in a river Image copyright Lucan Newland
Image caption Several species of fish have been killed, the Department of Agriculture and the Environment said

More than 1,000 fish of different species have been killed by pollution in a County Londonderry river.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency was alerted to the incident in Claudy on Monday.

Its investigation continued on Tuesday when dead fish were found.

The Department of Agriculture and the Environment has said the fish kill stretches over several kilometres of river.

The cause of the pollution is still being investigated and it is believed it was in a tributary of the River Faughan, an important salmon river.

Scale

Wallace Kennedy, an inspector for the Loughs Agency, said there not been a fish kill in the area "to this scale in a long number of years".

He added that "virtually everything that would live in the river" has been killed.

"It's not a total kill in that there are still live fish in the area, but a large number have been killed," he said.

Image copyright Lucan Newland
Image caption The kill in Claudy will "hit the community hard", angler Lucan Newland said

"We do not know for sure what has caused this, whether it's chemical or organic.

"The pollution has moved down the river and it's now a case of trying to locate the source."

Heart

Lucan Newland, who lives near the river and fishes in it regularly, said the kill was "alarming".

"The river is the heart and soul of this area and this is going to hit the community hard," he said.

"Salmon fry have been killed in their thousands, brown trout, sea trout and eels have all been eliminated.

"Whatever it is that's been introduced to the river, it's had no mercy.

"The river is dead - it's very shocking."