UP TO 4,000 salmon, trout, lamprey, stoneloach and minnow fish were wiped out along the River Clodiagh from Clonaslee to Tullamore last week.
The fish-kill is the subject of an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), which is following a definite line of inquiry. It said that the river may not recover for a considerable number of years. A spokesperson for IFI said that personnel have taken water and sludge samples with a view to a possible prosecution.
The alert was raised last week when thousands of fish were seen floating on a five-kilometre stretch of the River Clodiagh, which is a tributary of the Tullamore river in Offaly. The Clodiagh is a popular spot for local anglers. The cause of the kill is not yet known.
The Clodiagh and the 3,700 fish deaths had been recovering from a previous pollution spill some years ago, which is believed to have been caused by fertilisers. The latest pollution discharge is a devastating blow to the River Clodiagh. The quantities of fish present indicated that the river had recovered in recent years with excellent salmonid spawning and nursery habitat. Most of the fish-kill on the Clodiagh is believed to have started around the Clonaslee area, with farming not believed to have been responsible for the pollution.
Prior to the incident, the river was said to hold fair stocks of wild brown trout weighing up to 2lbs.