Busy year for fisheries board

JUST one of three fish kills recorded in the Cork/Kerry region last year is the subject of legal action.

The South Western Regional Fisheries Board (SWRFB), which is pursuing the case, also issued 18 on-the-spot fines in Kerry and an incredible 199 on-the-spot fines in Cork.

Its mobile protection unit which tackles suspected illegal fishing activity was particularly busy.

In Cork, it seized three nets, 29 fish, 154 items of equipment, 75kg of eels, and initiated 75 prosecutions. In Kerry, the unit seized 44 nets running to almost 2.5km in length, 12 salmon and 13 items of equipment, initiating eight prosecutions.

The details are contained the SWRFB’s 2008 annual report.

The first fish kill occurred in a tributary of the Ilen in Skibbereen on February 25 when an estimated 1,000 salmon, trout parr and fry were killed. The cause remains unconfirmed.

On May 17, up to 500 brown trout, eels and flatfish were killed in the Mall River in Dingle. Concrete is suspected, but there has been no prosecution.

And on September 3, up to 100 eels, lamprey, brown trout, salmon and flounder were killed in the Glountouig Stream in Monkstown, Co Cork. A water treatment chemical was to blame and this case is the subject of prosecution.

Of the three outstanding cases heard in 2008, one was successfully concluded, a second was struck out with costs and expenses awarded to the board, and a third has been deferred to July 2009, pending the completion of certain works.

The board received a total of 217 reports of an environmental nature during the year, ranging from the discharge of effluent directly to waters from agriculture, industry and local authority sources, through non-compliance with planning conditions, dumping of materials close to watercourses and physical interference with rivers through drainage and gravel extraction.

The board also noted that the removal of riverbed material affecting salmonid spawning and nursery grounds continued in 2008 compromising river ecosystems and bank stability.

Several incidents of silt discharges from large civil engineering development sites occurred.

The board said it worked with contractors to develop measures to control contaminated waters, but good site management, maintenance of silt control facilities and ceasing works during poor weather conditions were found the most effective measures in preventing discharge, the report said.


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