NIEA investigating major fish kill in Armagh river

Brown trout from fishkill.
Brown trout from fishkill.

A major fish kill is being investigated on the River Callan in Armagh city.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has said it received a report via the Water Pollution Hotline (0800 807 060) on Tuesday evening (June 12), indicating that there were dead and distressed fish in the river.

The agency deployed an inspector to the area to investigate and determine the environmental impact. From the immediate investigation, a small number of fish mortalities were confirmed and the river was noted to be running with black discolouration. Prior to poor light preventing further investigation, the inspector traced the discoloured pollutant and identified that the impact was coming from a specific tributary to the River Callan upstream of Armagh City.

A spokesperson said an NIEA investigation team was on site early yesterday and a definite line of enquiry is now being followed. To date approximately 1,000 brown trout and 100 salmon have been counted and work is ongoing to assess the full impact.

Statutory samples have been collected and evidence gathered with a view to initiating prosecution proceedings through PPS. The investigation, under the Water (NI) Order 1999 remains ongoing.

Following set procedures, the NIEA’s Emergency Pollution Officer notified the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, (DAERA), Inland Fisheries, so that a joint investigation could be carried out. DAERA Inland Fisheries have confirmed that a major fishkill has occurred.