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River Faughan: Silage effluent suspected in fish kill

By Allan Preston

Published 04/08/2016

Shocked: Lucan Newland
Shocked: Lucan Newland

A major fish kill in Co Londonderry is suspected to have been caused by silage effluent, investigators have said.

The pollution incident is believed to have taken place on Monday.

On Tuesday morning anglers turning up to fish the River Faughan said they were horrified to find more than 1,000 dead fish in the water.

A spokesman from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said investigations were ongoing to find the source of the pollution. Claudy resident Lucan Newland said he was shocked when he discovered scores of dead fish while walking along the bank.

"From yesterday, the pollution has covered a bigger area than we thought, about 15 miles of the river has been infected," he explained.

"It's travelled down to the tidal stretch down near the mouth of the Faughan, it's quite a substantial fish loss.

"The more concerning part is the young salmon that are making their way back out to the Atlantic, they took a big hit. There's 1,000 of them lying on the river bed, it's not looking good now."

Mr Newland said he believed the silage effluent had run off farms where manure was being spread on fields over the last week. He added that restoring the local fish stocks would cause great difficulty.

"I can't honestly say there will be a full recovery without someone's intervention," he said.

"The Faughan Anglers Association can do a hatchling programme where they can reintroduce salmon to the river. My father-in-law fished in that river for 40 years and was a bailiff on that river.

"He said he's never seen anything of this magnitude. I hear they have about 3,000 salmon going up that river every year. If they were saying around 1,000 have died, that's about 30% of the annual number of salmon."

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