An investigation is underway after what one local angler called a “significant” fish-kill on the river Lagan at
Dromore last week.
Dromore Angling Club’s Michael Shanks estimated some 70 or more trout had been killed along a stretch of river from the Regent Bridge, next to Dromore Cathedral, to the wooden bridge downriver in the Town Park.
“It was reported to me,” said Michael, “by one of our juvenile anglers who was just walking through the park when he saw a few dead fish.”
Michael in turn reported the kill to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The cause of the incident is so far unknown, and subject to some speculation locally.
Circumstances would seem to indicate the possibility that a harmful substance was introduced to the river directly or via a drain, somewhere in the area of the Regent Bridge, robbing the water of oxygen at a time when, thanks to low water, O2 levels are already diminished.
“It’s always devastating to see dead fish in a river,” said Mr Shanks, “but we would definitely put it down as a significant kill to us, to have 70 dead fish.”
According to Mr Shanks most of the dead fish were of a good size and likely to have been retreating to deeper stretches of the river to offset low water levels as they congregated ahead of their spawning run.
Banbridge District Council owns the fishing rights to the stretch of water concerned, but on behalf of Dromore Angling Club, Mr Shanks appealed to the public to report anything suspicious in the river to both the pollution hotline and himself.
“If anyone notices anything in the river,” he said, “any sort of waste or sewage or dead fish, to report it straight away to the pollution hotline and report it to me on 078 3000 3923.
“Often people see dead fish in the river and walk on by without ringing anyone; it’s better that they have a lot of reports than none at all.
“People should make sure they report it and get an incident number.”