Hundreds of fish killed in Bandon River

A SUBSTANTIAL fish kill has wiped out hundreds of trout and salmon in one of the country’s most popular angling rivers.

Two investigations are underway to try and establish the cause of the fish kill on the Bandon River in west Cork.

An angler reported the incident to both Inland Fisheries Ireland, the state agency responsible for the protection of inland fisheries, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A spokesperson for the EPA confirmed yesterday that an investigation into the fish kill — which came to light last Thursday — is continuing.

Angler David Forde, who regularly fishes the Bandon River, said it was the worst fish kill he had seen on the river.

“There were hundreds of dead fish, mouths open, which is a sure sign of pollution. The water was colourless and odourless so it wasn’t sewage. But there has been an ongoing problem with pollution.”

A second angler, who did not wish to be identified, said the fish kill occurred on a mile to mile-and-a-half long section of the river, near Ballineen.

He said the dead fish included adult and juvenile trout, adult and juvenile salmon and small fish such as stoneloach and sticklebacks. He also described it as “the worst I have seen in 10 years”.

The incident that led to the fish kill is estimated to have occurred sometime between Sunday and Thursday last. Its cause is not believed to be agricultural.

In addition to its popularity among anglers, the Bandon River is the source of drinking water for the townspeople of Bandon. Water for domestic use is drawn from the river, at Baxter’s Bridge, six miles downstream from where the pollution was discovered.

The river also flows through a substantial amount of farmland.

The Bandon rises in the Shehy Mountains in west Cork and flows east through Dunmanway, Ballineen, Enniskeane, Bandon and Innishannon on its way to Kinsale Harbour. It is primarily a salmon and sea trout river, but there are also plenty of brown trout, particularly in the lower reaches.

According to angling websites, the salmon fishing extends all the way from Innishannon upstream, to Desert Bridge and becomes more spread out further up. There is a good run of spring fish which peaks in April. There is also a good run of big fresh fish in August and September, but this is dependent on good water. The river gets an excellent run of sea trout commencing in early July and lasting through August.

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