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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

The continued abuse of our rivers is unsustainable – Kells, Connor and Glenwherry Angling Club

Phil Mailey, Chariman of Kells, Connor and Glenwherry Angling Club.

Phil Mailey, Chariman of Kells, Connor and Glenwherry Angling Club.

 

Local fishing clubs have expressed serious concerns at the amount of pollution incidents over the past number of weeks that have resulted in the death of thousands of fish.

 

The Four Mile Burn in Antrim, the River Roe, the Glenavy River and the Ballymoney River have all been affected.



Speaking today Phil Mailey, Chairman for Kells, Connor and Glenwherry Angling Club said:

 

"The angling clubs around Lough Neagh have come together to express our serious concerns over the fish kills in recent weeks.

 

“Four major incidents in four weeks is entirely unacceptable and entirely unsustainable. On top of this, all of these incidents feed into the crisis currently facing Lough Neagh.

 

“From both an angling and a conservation point of view, these rivers will take years to recover, that is providing they are left alone. Glenavy and the Six Mile Water in Antrim have both seen additional fish kills in recent years and only in 2023 nearly 2000 fish were killed in the Crumlin River.



“The one question that keeps being asked is how many times is this going to happen? Our view is it will continue to happen until adequate penalties are brought forward for those who offend.”


Polluted stream

Calling for urgent action Phil continued:

 

“We need to see a joint approach into an immediate review of penalties from DAREA and the Justice Ministry, including cross compliance penalties on farms for offences, a statistic that are not included in the overall pollution numbers. The figures we see published for pollution incidents are very much an underestimate of what is really going on.

 

“We also need to change how we record pollution. Where fish kills make headlines, how many other times does pollution enter our rivers not getting the attention it deserves. Ultimately all ofthis waste ends up in Lough Neagh, exacerbating the problems there.



“We urgently need to examine how other countries such as Canada are leading the way in terms of water quality and learn from them in terms of protecting the natural environment.

 

“We as angling clubs can play our part too. DAERA are telling us they are under-resourced. We are asking NIEA and DAERA to utilize and train our members to be able to assist in monitoring, reporting, evidence gathering on these occasions.”

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