Update 3.45pm: People and businesses have been urged to exercise the appropriate caution when using or disposing of poisonous chemicals.
Sinn Fein Ireland South MEP MEP, Liadh Ní Riada, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, was speaking after a major fish kill in Tipperary.
Nearly 15,000 fish were killed, including more than 10,000 protected Lamprey, in the Ollatrim River, a tributary of the Nenagh River, in a suspected chemical poisoning.
“A fish kill of this size is a tragedy for any area,” she said.
“Our beautiful waterways are such a crucial part of our countryside, especially when it comes to attracting tourists and anglers and incidents like this can deal a serious blow to local economies.
“It is especially tragic given that Lamprey are a protected species and it will take the population several years to recover.
“The cause of the fish kill is being investigated but in the meantime I would urge any person or business using or disposing of dangerous chemicals to exercise all possible caution when it comes to avoiding contamination of our waterways.
“Make sure herbicides, pesticides or any other such materials are being mixed, sprayed or used well away from any water courses and that they are appropriately diluted to avoid being needlessly strong.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are investigating after it confirmed that a large fish kill took place on the Ollatrim River, a tributary of the Nenagh River, Co. Tipperary last week.
After receiving a report, Fisheries Officers attended the site at Ballinahemery Bridge on July 9 and have since announced that 14,749 fish were estimated dead with dead fish observed along a five kilometre stretch of the river.
Following the discovery of the fish mortality, an investigation was launched. Indications are that the fish kill occurred on Sunday, July 8.
The species affected included brown trout (1,400), lamprey (10,500), stoneloach (805), minnow (1,820), salmon (70), crayfish (70) and stickleback (84).
This is the largest fish kill of lamprey - a protected species - in recent years and it is anticipated that recovery will take several years.
The investigation to identify the source of the fish kill is continuing but the cause appears to have been a chemical agent, possibly a herbicide or pesticide, which has now passed through the system.
IFI has issued a reminder to the public and the farming community that if they are using spraying equipment to be aware that these herbicide and pesticide chemicals, even when diluted with water, are liable to be extremely toxic to all aquatic species and fish in particular.
Members of the public who wish to report incidents can contact IFI on 1890 34 74 24.
IFI is the organisation responsible for the conservation, protection, management, marketing, development and improvement of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources.
- Digital Desk