Pollution blamed for major fish kill in River Faughan
More than 1,000 fish have been found dead along several miles of the River Faughan in Co Londonderry.
Lucan Newland, from Claudy, made the grim discovery of scores of dead salmon, sea trout and brown trout as he walked along the river yesterday morning.
He told the Belfast Telegraph that neither he nor his father-in-law, a former river bailiff, had ever seen anything like it.
"It was like something from a horror movie," he added.
Further along the river, a number of dead eels were also reported to have been found.
Wallace Kennedy, an inspector for the Loughs Agency, told the BBC there had not been a fish kill in the area "to this scale in a long number of years".
He added "virtually everything that'd live in the river" had been killed. "It's not a total kill in that there are still live fish, but a large number have been killed," he said.
SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan described the incident as "deeply disturbing"
"It is essential that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Loughs Agency carry out an immediate investigation and determine the cause of this disaster," he added. "Causing pollution is a criminal offence and whoever is behind this must be brought before the courts."
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: "Staff from the Loughs Agency were informed and are working with NIEA to quantify the number and species affected, and the cause.
"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. However, the assessment of the fish kill is still ongoing. Investigations into the cause of the pollution are continuing."