A Galway farmer has today being convicted of a breach to the Water Pollution Act which resulted in numerous fish deaths.
  • ADDED
  • 3 years ago

A Galway farmer has today being convicted of a breach to the Water Pollution Act which resulted in numerous fish deaths.

Mr. Michael Conneally pleaded guilty today, at a sitting of Tuam district court, to permitting silage effluent to enter the River Yellow. The river, which is a tributary of the Clare River, was polluted

on the 15th June 2016.

Last year a high number of fish deaths were recorded in the area, and Inland fisheries upon tracing the effluent back to its source on Mr. Coneally’s farm. The effluent was found to be

originating from a pipe leading up to a Silage pit on the accused’s farm.

The river is known to be an important place for salmon and trout to spawn in the area, although as a result of this pollution numbers have drastically decreased. This was noticed for

considerable distances either side of the effluents entry into the river.

The Clare River is the largest tributary of Lough Corrib, and sees thousands of salmon and trout run the river to spawn every year. There are six different angling clubs along the river who have

made significant investment in recent years to help improve the spawning and nursery habitat for salmon and trout. These clubs rely on local farmers to maintain the river and protect it from

severe pollution.

The court heard how the Galway farmer was in full co-operation with Inland Fisheries officers and tried to find a way to solve the problem without delay. The river was already severely polluted

at this stage however and Judge Mary Devins convicted him of the offence and the farmer was fined €750 with a three-month deadline to pay. He was charged with laboratory expenses to the

tune of €464.94 and legal costs worth €600.

Upon the decision farmers have been urged by the CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Dr Ciaran Byrne, to be vigilant and ensure everything is done to prevent such occurrences of pollution, he

said “ would appeal to farmers for continued vigilance to help protect our waterways from agricultural pollution. At this time of year, silage is in full swing and silage effluent can be a highly toxic

substance when it gets into rivers, starving the fish and invertebrate life of oxygen. This incident on the Clare River highlights the large impact one leak can have on our fisheries resource.”

Angling in Ireland is a huge industry in the country, contributing an estimated €836 million to the economy each year. It supports up to 11,000 jobs usually in rural or peripheral regions. .

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development aims to ensure the sustainable development of the natural angling resource in a conservation focused manner. If realised,

the strategy could help increase the economic contribution of angling by €53 million annually and support 18,000 jobs

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