The fish population of the lakes of Fermanagh could be hit if the fracking method of natural gas extraction is introduced to the county, a Stormont minister has warned.
Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, who has responsibility for inland waterways, told the Assembly that chemical leaks or water-level reductions could damage stocks.
Sites in Fermanagh have been identified as potentially rich sources of gas but no permission has been granted for fracking to take place. The method sees water, sand and chemicals injected into shale rock hundreds of metres underground at high pressure, forcing gas up and out through a drilled well.
In response to a question from Green MLA Steven Agnew, the minister expressed her fears about the controversial extraction technique on the natural environment and habitats.
She added: “The fracking process requires large amounts of water. This could result in lowering of the water levels, which would have a detrimental effect on fish populations.”