Investigation after more than 200 fish killed at Newtownabbey river

Approximately 220 trout have been killed on a stretch of the Three Mile Water river in Newtownabbey.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 12:56 pm

The fish kill, which is under investigation, was reported to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) on Monday evening.

In a statement, a spokesperson for DAERA said: “At 8.35pm on Monday, May 31, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) received a water pollution report, from a member of the public indicating that there were dead fish in the Three Mile Water River at Whiteabbey.

“NIEA deployed a Water Quality Inspector to the area to confirm the report and assess the environmental impact. Dead fish have been confirmed in the river and the full impact on the fishery remains under investigation and the investigation will continue. DAERA Inland Fisheries have been informed following set procedures. The cause of the fish kill is unknown at this stage.”

The fish kill was reported on May 31.

Volunteers from the Three Mile Water Conservation and Angling Association have been at the scene since the incident was reported.

Speaking to this newspaper, the group’s chair, Andy Moore, said: “The impacted stretch of river extends from Monkstown Wood to the sea- it is fairly extensive. There hasn’t been a fish kill at this location for around a decade, but there have been other more recent incidents up stream.

“I’ve counted 220 dead trout at this stage, but a final number has yet to be confirmed. It’s a strange one in that the water was clear and there was no odour. When I attended the river on Monday night, there were live fish still swimming around the dead fish. I’m not sure if the live fish have survived at this stage.

“The river had been doing very well and this kill will set us back at least five years. This has been a multi-generational kill. We’ve lost adult fish and young fish.

“This is a wild river so we’ll let it re-stock naturally to protect the integrity of the waterway. We wouldn’t want to introduce fish to the river and interfere.

“The kill was reported by a member of the public and we’re grateful. We’d urge anyone who notices similar incidents to report them to the NIEA immediately.

“We’d also ask residents to be careful around our local waterways, especially over the summer months when the water is not as deep.

“The low water levels mean that pollutants aren’t able to be diluted as well and can cause more harm to the fish and wildlife. People should be careful when using household chemicals and should dispose of them properly and not down storm drains as this could enter the rivers.”

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Click here to read Police investigating criminal damage at Newtownabbey Sure Start

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