Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Fourth fish kill at Waterworks leaves club’s future in doubt

Scientists last night remained baffled as to the cause of a fish kill at one of Belfast’s most popular fishing spots.

Following the fourth kill in Belfast Waterworks this year, the fishing club that stocks it with rainbow trout throughout spring and summer warned it could go out of business if the problem grows worse.

The cross-community Families at the Waterworks group was set up in 2001 to tackle sectarian violence in the interface area in north Belfast by diverting youngsters into fishing.

Secretary Gerard Tohill said: “One guy had the good idea of getting up a fishing club. He thought if they were fishing there is less chance of sectarian trouble between them. So far we’ve been quite successful, but if this pollution gets any worse and puts us out of business, it would be something that we can’t get back.”

Up to 200 roach and bream fry were found dead in the Milewater, the inlet channel to the lake, but no rainbow trout were affected in the Easter incident.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency said it has investigated two fish kills at the Waterworks this month.

“No visible pollutant was noted at the inlet channel or in the pond and the ecology of the river that feeds the pond was not noted to be adversely impacted. None of the game fish, with which the pond is regularly stocked, or larger coarse fish were affected,” a spokesman said.

“Although the inlet channel is narrow, subject to poor water exchange in drier weather and fish fry of the size affected are particularly susceptible to prevailing pond and weather conditions, the introduction of an unknown pollutant into the system cannot be ruled out.

“However, given the size of the fry involved in this incident and the fact that larger game and coarse species were unaffected, no further NIEA action was deemed necessary at that time.”

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