Inquiry launched into extensive fish kill in Tipperary river

Early indications suggest chemical poisoning as nearly 15,000 dead, including protected species

Up to 1,400 Brown Trout and 70 Salmon perished in the fish kill at at the Ollatrim river. Photograph: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Up to 1,400 Brown Trout and 70 Salmon perished in the fish kill at at the Ollatrim river. Photograph: Inland Fisheries Ireland

 

An investigation is under way into the death of thousands of fish in Tipperary’s Ollatrim river.

Inland Fisheries Ireland has said the 14,749 dead fish include 10,500 Lamprey, one of the largest death tolls of the protected species in recent years. The recovery of stocks will take several years, the agency said.

Early indications suggest chemical poisoning may be responsible for the incident at Ballinahemery Bridge near Ballymackey, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

The deaths are believed to have occurred on Sunday, July 8th, although locals have reported seeing several dead fish on the Saturday evening. The site covers a 5km stretch of river.

Other species included Brown Trout (1,400 dead), Stoneloach (805), Minnow (1,820), Salmon (70), Crayfish (70) and Stickleback (84).

“The cause appears to have been a chemical agent, possibly a herbicide or pesticide, which has now passed through the system,” said Inland Fisheries.

Extremely toxic

It has sought to remind the public and farming community that when using spraying equipment they should be aware that herbicides and pesticides, even when diluted with water, are liable to be extremely toxic to fish.

Dead Lampray in the Ollatrim river that numbered 10,500. Photograph: Inland Fisheries Ireland
Dead Lampray in the Ollatrim river that numbered 10,500. Photograph: Inland Fisheries Ireland

“Any mixing must be done far from natural watercourses, especially in the current conditions when diluting waters are in short supply therefore increasing the toxicity of the chemical,” it said, requesting care when rinsing equipment.

It has reminded the public that people can get in touch via a confidential phone line on 1890-347424.

The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.