Dunore River: County Antrim farmer fined over fish kill

·1 min read
Ballymena Magistrates Court
Mark Patterson appeared at Ballymena Magistrates' Court

A County Antrim farmer has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay more than £1,700 in compensation after a fish kill incident.

Mark Patterson, 50, from Carmavy Road in Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Ballymena Magistrates' Court.

A water quality inspector had found agricultural effluent was flowing into the Dunore River in May 2021.

It was found to be coming from a small sheugh after a slurry tank outlet had not been closed properly.

That caused the tank to overfill and the slurry entered the sheugh after flowing over a field.

Discharges from slurry tanks can destroy fish spawning sites and enrich fungi in rivers, which may starve invertebrates of oxygen.

River invertebrates - like snails, insects and worms - are a food source for fish.

Effluents with high ammonia levels are directly toxic to fish.

It was acknowledged in court that Mr Patterson had carried out clean-up activities to prevent further discharges into the Dunore River.

Samples showed the discharge contained "poisonous, noxious or polluting matter".

Almost 1,500 dead fish were counted by the Department of Agricultural and Environment (Daera) Fisheries Officers in the days following the spill.

As well as a fine and compensation, Mr Patterson was also ordered to pay a £15 offender levy.