Farmers in Longford asked to remain vigilant for water pollution

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Some of the hundreds of fish killed on the River Loobagh in Kilmallock last August

There were 31 separate fish kills across the country last year

Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued an appeal to farmers in Longford to remain vigilant during the summer months when harvesting silage and spreading slurry to avoid water pollution and the loss of nutrients to water.

There were 31 separate fish kills across the country last year, with eight of those directly attributable to agricultural activities.

Fish killed in those incidents included brown trout, atlantic salmon, eel, stone loach and stickleback.
In addition to the agricultural related kills, two fish kills were as a result of municipal works and one by industrial works.

In four instances, the exact cause of the fish kill was difficult to ascertain while 16 incidents of fish kills were as a result of disease and natural causes.

As agriculture was the largest identifiable and avoidable attributing factor to fish kills last year, farmers throughout the county are reminded of the importance of managing their silage operations correctly.

“Silage operations are ongoing all summer and silage effluent has the potential to cause devastating pollution in streams and rivers,” a spokesperson added.

“Silage effluent is a significant polluting substance, starving fish and invertebrate life of oxygen, resulting in potentially massive fish kills if it enters a watercourse.

“With some rivers low during summertime with little dilution capacity, the effect of a small leak can cause huge damage.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland is subsequently advising farmers to follow its simple six point plan to ensure good farmyard management and reduce pollution.

This plan includes producing round bales; ensuring silage pits are properly sealed; slurry spreading in dry weather; not spreading slurry close to a watercourse; not cleaning tanks beside watercourses, streams or rivers and not allowing any effluent or washings to enter rainwater gullies.