A prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has led to an €8,000 fine for a dairy farmer.
Mr Brian Duncan appeared before Midleton District Court on Thursday, November 12th.
He pleaded guilty before Judge Patricia Harney to polluting the Douglas River at Garryduff, Dungourney, Co. Cork in April 2018.
An initial discharge of slurry from his farmyard was followed by further reoccurrence, the court heard. This resulted in several court adjournments and hearings to allow completion of court directed remedial works.
More than 1,000 head
IFI gave evidence that the river had been severely polluted by the slurry discharges which had rendered the riverine habitat inaccessible to spawning trout and salmon.
Evidence was also given that Duncan was running a large dairy farm with more than 1,000 head. The court heard had invested significantly in improving his yard facilities since the initial incident.
Judge Harney convicted Mr Duncan under Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Section 3 (1) of The Local Government Water Pollution Act 1977, awarding full costs and expenses of €8,139 to Inland Fisheries Ireland.
While noting the remedial works undertaken by Mr Duncan, Sean Long, Director of the South Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland said:
“Livestock manure and other organic fertilisers, effluents and soiled water have the potential to cause devastating effects on our fisheries resource.”
“Good farmyard management and using preventative measures help stop accidental discharges of polluting substances and protects the local environment which will have a significant and lasting positive impact on valuable wild fish populations and general wellbeing in an area.”
“I urge the farming community to remain vigilant to the risk of pollution from yards and slurry tanks.”
IFI has a confidential hotline number for the public to report incidents – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.
To prevent waters from being polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus when land-spreading, Inland Fisheries Ireland advises farmers to refer to Good Agricultural Practice Regulations guidance on www.agriculture.gov.ie.