A fish kill in the River Faughan, which has already wiped out at least 1,000 trout and salmon, according to estimates, has been described as an “ecological disaster.”
Jim Haughey from the Ulster Angling Federation said a 20 mile stretch from Claudy to the tidal reach has been affected but the origins of the fish kill are as yet unknown.
Mr Haughey said: “First official report from the Northeren Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is over 1,000 fish dead, but wipe out still happening at the tidal barrier...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.”
Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: “There must be an urgent investigation into this serious incident, to not only determine the cause, but to ensure that any breach of standards and environmental regulation is addressed with prosecutions if necessary.
“The River Faughan is well known as a great salmon river and one of the best in Europe. This devastating fish kill has caused serious concerns for the future of life in the river.”
People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann said it was an “ecological disaster.”
“As more details emerge, it becomes clear that the fish kill on the Faughan is nothing short of an ecological disaster.
“From being one of the best salmon rivers in Europe, the Faughan is now in crisis. In the worst scenario, it could decline towards the status of a backwater. The dedication of anglers, environmentalists and other campaigners will likely ensure that this doesn’t happen.”
He added: “While waiting for the proximate cause of the disaster to be pin-pointed, it’ should be noted that the scandal of the illegal dump alongside the river at Mobuoy Road testifies to the indifference of some in authority. This helps explain how the latest calamity can have come about.”
Mr McCann asked for further testing of the river to ensure that leachate from the illegal superdump at Gorticross is not responsible for contaminating the water and somehow contributing to the kill.
“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,” he said.