Farmers fined in connection with fish kill incident

Two farmers from Co. Fermanagh have been fined recently at Omagh Magistrates’ Court, in connection with a fish kill incident.

Over 190 fish were found dead during an inspection of a tributary of the Ballinamallard River, close to the border of counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Francis White – from Magheralough Road near Trillick – pleaded guilty to allowing a polluting discharge to enter a waterway; he was fined £750 (€851) and ordered to pay fish costs of £885.60 (€1,004.90).

In a separate case connected to the same fish kill incident, Brendan McBride of Gargadis Road near Trillick also pleaded guilty to allowing a polluting discharge to enter a waterway.

The farmer received a fine of £750 (€851) and he was ordered to pay fish costs of £354 (€402) for his role in the incident.

This case arose following an inspection carried out by Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs) on July 3, 2015; the inspectors were acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

During the inspection, the WQIs observed a discharge of strong-smelling effluent entering the waterway through concrete pipework.

The waterway was reportedly clean and clear of any pollution above this discharge; the source of the discharge was traced back to a farm premises owned by White.

Meanwhile, the WQIs also traced a discharge to a farm premises owned by McBride. It was revealed that silage effluent had been escaping through a hole in PVC piping, which was used to take silage effluent to a holding tank.

A total of 189 native brown trout were found dead in the main Ballinamallard River down to below Ballinapaste Bridge, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

A number of dead stoneloach, minnows and crayfish were also found, it added.

Samples taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharges contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.