Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued an appeal to farmers in Clare to remain vigilant during the summer months when harvesting silage and spreading slurry to avoid water pollution and the loss of nutrients to water.
There were 31 separate fish kills across the country last year, with eight of those directly attributable to agricultural activities.
The eight fish kills caused by agricultural practises in 2016 occurred in Meath (x 1), Kilkenny (x 1), Cork (x 3), Kerry (x 1), Sligo (x 1) and Galway (x 1). Fish killed in these incidents included brown trout, Atlantic salmon, eel, stone loach and stickleback. In addition to the agricultural related kills, two fish kills were as a result of municipal works and one by industrial works.
In four instances, the exact cause of the fish kill was difficult to ascertain while 16 incidents of fish kills were as a result of disease and natural causes.
As agriculture was the largest identifiable and avoidable attributing factor to fish kills last year, farmers in Clare are reminded of the importance of managing their silage operations correctly. Silage operations are ongoing all summer and silage effluent has the potential to cause devastating pollution in streams and rivers.
Silage effluent is a significant polluting substance, starving fish and invertebrate life of oxygen, resulting in potentially massive fish kills if it enters a watercourse. With some rivers low during summertime with little dilution capacity, the effect of a small leak can cause huge damage.
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