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Largest fish kill of the year linked to high water temperatures; More than 5,000 fish died in Lake Barnagrow

CAVAN: Ireland recorded the year’s largest fish kill due to extremely high water temperatures caused by recent heatwaves. The fish kill occurred in Co Cavan’s Barnagrow Lake, which is part of the Annalee River and Upper Erne catchment area. The incident was reported to environmental and fisheries officials earlier this week by locals.

More than 5,000 fish, including species such as bream, roach, perch and pike, are estimated to be dead. Fish samples from the lake have been collected for further analysis.

High water temperature and algal bloom – leading cause for fish kill

Preliminary investigations indicate that the incident was caused by a severe algal bloom, as well as high water temperatures and low oxygen levels in the lake.

Dr Milton Matthews, director of the north-western river basin district with Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “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.”

Largest reported fish kill

According to Dr Milton Matthews, this is the largest reported fish kill nationwide to date in 2021. “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,” he said.  

Dr. Milton Mathews also urged people to report fish kills or sightings of fish under distress to Inland Fisheries Ireland by dialling the hotline number 1890 34 74 24.

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