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something fishy Chemicals found after thousands of fish die in River Kesh in Fermanagh

An expert said the kill is strange because invertebrates the fish feed on seem to have been unaffected


Some of the fish killed in the Kesh River incident on September 1

Some of the fish killed in the Kesh River incident on September 1

Some of the fish killed in the Kesh River incident on September 1

The presence of chemicals has been found in a County Fermanagh river where thousands of fish died last week.

The incident happened on a 4km section of the Kesh River in County Fermanagh.

Almost 2,000 trout and more than 500 salmon died in the incident, and measures have been undertaken to try and find what caused the fish to die.

It is understood two chemicals found in the water after the fish kill are currently being analysed.

The Stormont Agricultural Committee has heard how the incident was described as a “strange kill”, with Kerry Anderson, head of Water Management at the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs saying the incident stood out because the invertebrates the fish feed on don’t seem to have been affected.

On September 1, officers from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) attended the area after receiving a report of dead fish rising to the top of the water at around 7.45pm.

A report after the incident identified 1,899 trout to have died and 576 salmon up to two years old also died.

An expert said it could take up to four years for the levels of fish before the incident to return to the river.

After the incident, a local SDLP councillor, Adam Gannon, said the dead fish had caused “anxiety” in the area.

He added: “I am deeply concerned by the major fish kill in Kesh River on Wednesday, it has been described as the worst incident of its type for many years and has caused anxiety in the local area about the cause.

“This incident has seriously depleted the local fish stock and it will take many years to return to its previous level. There are also concerns about potential pollution given the murky brown colour of the river.

“I hope the NIEA investigation will establish what happened here and what caused this fish kill. We need to identify what’s behind this so we can take action to protect our local environment and fix any issues that may have arisen as a result.”

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In recent months there have also been fish kills in the Newtownabbey and Monkstown areas.

A spokesperson for the NIEA said: "If any member of the public has any information which can assist the investigation, this can be reported through the incident Hotline 0800 807060 quoting reference WR 8/21/0603, or pass any details through to emergency-pollution@daera-ni.gov.uk.”

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