Northern Ireland news

Officials investigate ‘major' fish kill in River Faughan

Two of the dead fish retrieved from the River Faughan 
Seamus McKinney

OFFICIALS are investigating a major fish kill in the River Faughan.

Hundreds of dead fish were discovered by anglers near Claudy on Tuesday morning.

The Fauaghan, which feeds into Lough Foyle, attracts fishing enthusiasts from all over the world.

A Loughs Agency spokesman said staff were trying to locate the source of the kill.

“At this stage, there are hundreds, high hundreds, of dead fish and it may go into the thousands,” he said.

“The Faughan is a very good angling river and this year there has been a very good run of fish in the river. As the run has been so good, the number of fish killed has been very high."

People before Profit assembly member Eamonn McCann said he had raised concerns in the past about the possible impact of illegal dumping close to the river.

“We must await results of further testing before conclusions can be reached about the cause of the devastating loss discovered today," he said.

"The immediate point is that concern about the human and environmental dangers of pollution of the Faughan has been signalled for some considerable time by those in the best position to know what was happening."

SDLP MLA for East Derry Gerry Mullan said the latest available figures are that in excess of 1,000 fish of a range of species have been killed over several kilometres of river.

“The news that in excess of 1,000 fish near Claudy have been killed is deeply disturbing, with eyewitness reports that this was like something out of a horror movie.

"It is certainly one of the biggest incidents of its kind this year.

“It is essential that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Loughs Agency carries out an immediate investigation and determines the cause of this disaster.

"Causing water pollution is a criminal offence and whoever is behind this – whether through negligence or malice – must be brought before the courts.

“With no idea what is behind this at this stage, it is unclear how long it will take before the stretch of water recovers.

"I will be seeking a full report from the Environment Minister on this shocking situation."

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