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Silage and slurry warnings to farmers to prevent fish kills

Thursday, 3rd August, 2017 9:06am

An appeal has been made to Cork farmesr to be careful when harvesting silage and spreading slurry.

Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued the appeal to farmers to remain vigilant during the summer months when harvesting silage and spreading slurry, to avoid water pollution and the loss of nutrients to water.

There were 31 separate fish kills across the country last year, with eight of those directly attributable to agricultural activities.

The eight fish kills caused by agricultural practises in 2016 occurred in Meath, Kilkenny, Kerry, Sligo, and Galway with one in each; while Cork had three.

Fish killed in these incidents included brown trout, atlantic salmon, eel, stone loach and stickleback.

In addition to the agricultural related kills, two fish kills were as a result of municipal works and one by industrial works.

In four instances, the exact cause of the fish kill was difficult to ascertain, while 16 incidents of fish kills were as a result of disease and natural causes.

As agriculture was the largest identifiable and avoidable attributing factor to fish kills last year, farmers are reminded of the importance of managing their silage operations correctly.

Silage operations are ongoing all summer and silage effluent has the potential to cause devastating pollution in streams and rivers.

Silage effluent is a significant polluting substance, starving fish and invertebrate life of oxygen, resulting in potentially massive fish kills if it enters a watercourse. With some rivers low during summertime with little dilution capacity, the effect of a small leak can cause huge damage.

Dr Greg Forde, Head of Operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland is grateful to the farming community for their continued consideration and vigilance. Good farmyard management can help to prevent accidental runs of polluting substances and protect the local environment. This will have a significant and lasting positive impact on valuable wild fish populations in an area."

Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing on 1890-347424 or 1890 FISH 24. For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit fisheriesireland.ie.

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