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Off the scale Probe launched after hundreds of wild salmon and trout found dead in Co Mayo

Enforcement agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), has categorised the incident at the Glore River in Kiltimagh as 'serious'

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Stock photo

Stock photo

Stock photo

A major fish kill is under investigation after hundreds of protected wild salmon and many trout were found dead in Co Mayo.

Enforcement agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), has categorised the incident at the Glore River in Kiltimagh as “serious”.

The agency believes more than 500 young salmon and trout have been wiped out in the river which provides important spawning grounds within the Moy river catchment which is renowned for its fishing.

Any kill of this scale at this crucial time for the fish threatens the reproduction cycle and could decimate stocks in the river for the next few years.

Environmental and fisheries officers were alerted to the incident last Friday and have worked over the weekend to assess the extent of the damage.

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Inland Fisheries Ireland logo

Inland Fisheries Ireland logo

Inland Fisheries Ireland logo


Water and fish samples have been taken from the scene for laboratory tests to determine if pollution caused the deaths.

Agricultural run-off, sewage discharges and industrial waste are the main causes of fish kills in Irish rivers, with disease and increasing spells of extreme weather also playing a part.

Tracking the source of a pollution incident can be notoriously difficult and successful prosecutions are few.

“Investigations are ongoing and Inland Fisheries Ireland is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken,” a spokesperson said.

Ireland’s wild salmon are protected and can be fished only under licence as their numbers dwindle due to overfishing, poor river water quality and sea lice spread from some intensive salmon farming activities.

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It is also feared the impact of climate change on sea temperatures, with cold water feeding grounds shifting further north, is further stressing the species.

Trout are in a stronger position but there are growing concerns about the health of the sea trout population which also come inland to spawn.

Fish kills vary each year with 40 reported incidents killing over 20,000 fish in 2018 and 20 killing around 7,000 in 2019.

Already that lower figure has been exceeded this year after two serious incidents in Cork and Cavan in July.

To report fish kills, members of the public are encouraged to call Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.

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