Tolka fish kill highlights need for a strategy to protect our waterways

20 July 2017

Duncan Smith, Labour Party Councillor for Swords and keen angler, has described the latest fish kill on the River Tolka as another example of the vulnerability of our urban waterways to pollution.  Cllr Smith, who is leading a community angling initiative in Swords, was a junior member of the Tolka Trout Angling Association, has called for a national strategy to protect our urban waterways.

Cllr Smith commented:

“We are all attracted by our rivers, canals, ponds and lakes whether to fish or just to walk around and enjoy the abundant nature and peaceful surrounds. We cannot put a price on the value of these amenities, particularly in large towns and cities. The interconnectivity of our sewage system and our waterways means a pollution related fish kill event is always a possibility.

“This latest kill was apparently due to a car tyre being dumped in a sewer causing a blockage and overflow. This simple yet malicious act has had a devastating impact on a near 3km stretch of the River Tolka.

“I would like to see a risk assessment done by Irish Water in conjunction with our Local Authorities to highlight risk areas for pollution and put in place environmental plans at these locations so any pollution events are avoided and don’t impact on our fish population.

“I know first-hand the back breaking labour that goes into keeping rivers and lakes clean from local angling groups, environmentalists and tidy Towns groups but sewage events are beyond the competency of these voluntary groups to control, yet they can undo years of hard work in minutes. In recent years we have seen Salmon return to the Dodder and Tolka in Dublin, we have seen increased fish stocks in the Ward and Broadmeadow rivers in North Dublin. With that we have seen a growth in community angling groups such as The Usher’s Lake Angling Initiative which I am Chairperson of in Swords. These fish require healthy clean water to survive and thrive.

“We need to protect our waterways and our fish stocks for the benefit of our wider communities”

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