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Contaminated equipment caused Lough fish kill

IT is believed that contaminated fishing equipment is the cause of the infection that killed hundreds of carp at The Lough.

City Hall's environment directorate has prepared an extensive report into the incident, which saw more than 800 carp killed at the popular amenity and fishing restrictions put in place.

The report also identifies options for moving forward with the repopulation of the Lough in the coming months.

A full ecological study, due to be carried out shortly, will inform future biodiversity strategies going forward. City Hall plans to engage with the UCC Zoology Department to undertake this assessment.

Dermot Long and Sean Cremin, of Inland Fisheries Ireland on The Lough, watched by walkers, as they remove dead carp from the amenity.Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Dermot Long and Sean Cremin, of Inland Fisheries Ireland on The Lough, watched by walkers, as they remove dead carp from the amenity.
Picture: Jim Coughlan.
In all, 855 dead carp were removed from the Lough by members of Inland Fisheries Ireland and Cork City Council.

Extensive testing was carried out, identifying the cause of death as CEV - known as 'koi sleepy disease' - with similar problems reported in the privately-operated Belvelly Lake in Cobh.

The virus has been responsible for large-scale mortalities in common carp in Europe but this is the first such incident in Ireland. Outbreaks of the disease can be devastating and can reach 80-100% of fishing stock.

The report from City Hall's environment directorate identifies four possible causes of the disease.

It notes that it is possible that the virus was latently present for years or that fish carrying CEV were unofficially introduced to the Lough. It is also possible that another living organism transmitted the disease.

However, the report concludes that the most likely scenario is that fishing equipment that has come into contact with infected fish at another location was used at the Lough.

The report also notes that it is unlikely that new carp will be introduced at the amenity. Instead, it will be allowed to restock naturally.

Up to 30 healthy and spawning carp were observed during an inspection at the Lough last week and notes that 'most likely there are more' in the amenity at present.

"Dependant on the ecological assessment, it is most likely that the current carp population will be allowed to repopulate over time, with no new restocking," the report states.

"The lake was overstocked and the improvement in water clarity is very noticeable now with the reduction in carp numbers."

Pending the completion of the planned assessment, a no fishing restriction will remain in place. It is estimated that this restriction may remain in place for as long as three months while testing and observation is completed.