IFI investigate fish kill at Cavan Lake

Fish samples have been taken from the lake and removed for further analysis.

Inland Fisheries Ireland, the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, say they are investigating a serious fish kill incident at Barnagrow Lake near Shercock.

Environmental and Fisheries Officers from the North-Western River Basin District were alerted to the incident at the water course, which is contained within the Annalee River and Upper Erne catchment area, following a call from a member of the public on Tuesday, July 27.

Inland Fisheries Ireland estimates that there could be in excess of 5,000 fish mortalities, including species such as bream, roach, perch and pike.

Fish samples have been taken from the lake and removed for further analysis.

Initial investigations indicate that a severe algal bloom, combined with high water temperatures and low oxygen levels recorded in Barnagrow Lake, are the likely causes of the incident.

Dr. Milton Matthews, the Director of the North-Western River Basin District with Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Unfortunately, this is a very significant fish kill affecting several year classes of coarse fish and is the largest reported fish kill nationally to date in 2021.”

He added: “During the recent heatwave, very high water temperatures were noted at several angling locations, with temperatures of over 26 degrees Centigrade for example recorded in Lough Sheelin, Co. Cavan. In the days preceding the fish kill at Barnagrow Lake, a severe algal bloom was noted by Inland Fisheries Ireland staff, which together with very high water temperatures recorded locally, which were 22 degrees Centigrade, likely resulted in this serious fish kill event due to reduced oxygen levels in the water.”

To report fish kills or sightings of fish under distress, members of the public are encouraged to call Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.