Faughan fish kill

Dead fish are removed from the River Faughan following an unexplained fish kill.
Dead fish are removed from the River Faughan following an unexplained fish kill.

Over 1,000 fish are thought to have been killed in a pollution incident on the River Faughan.

Ulster Angling Federation member Jim Haughey, described the incident as “a major fish kill” and said a stretch of around 20 miles of the River, from Claudy to the tidal reach, was affected.

Dead fish being examined after a major fish kill on the Faughan River

Dead fish being examined after a major fish kill on the Faughan River

“We have no idea yet as to what has caused it,” he said.

“The first official report from NIEA is that over 1,000 fish are dead, but wipe out is still happening at the tidal barrier. There are major numbers of fish in serious distress after NI Water lowered the water levels for some inexplicable reason after it was warned of the pollution incident,” he said.

People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann has called for an “urgent and thorough” investigation of a major fish-kill on the River Faughan.

The kill was discovered by anglers on Tuesday afternoon.

According to People Before Profit MLA, Eamonn McCann, hundreds of salmon, trout and other fish were found floating on the river.

“The Faughan contains one of the most important salmon populations in these islands,” he said.

“River Faughan Anglers exists to cater for anglers, and to protect and manage fish populations. The RFA and other groups, including People before Profit, have for some time been highlighting the danger to the river posed by the massive adjacent illegal dump at Mobuoy Road.

“I have been assured at Stormont that the water quality of the Faughan has not been damaged by leaching from the dump. Is this still the case? I have emailed the Department of Infrastructure asking urgently for further testing, particularly along the stretch of the river where the kill has taken place.

“Two years ago, the anglers lost a case over development at a nearby concrete production site. The RPA had challenged a decision by the then Department of the Environment (DoE) to grant planning permission for the development on land at Drumahoe. The anglers claimed that the DoE had failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the development which, they told the court, ‘could have potentially catastrophic ecological consequences.’

“The court rejected the anglers’ case on the ground that there had been no ‘manifest error’ in the Department’s handling of the issue.

“We must await the results of further testing before conclusions can be reached about the cause of the devastating loss discovered today. The immediate point is that concern about the human and environmental dangers of pollution of the Faughan has been signalled for some considerable by those in the best opposition to know what was happening.

“Today’s depressing news underlines the importance of the public inquiry into illegal dumping which the Assembly called for in March 2014, but which has not yet been established. It’s long past time. Peope Before Profit wants action now.”