Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pikers fear the worst for pollution-hit Beg

Pike anglers in Northern Ireland are fearing the worst tonight as the scale of a major oil spill on a prime fishery became clear.

More than 8,000 gallons of red diesel haves formed a massive slick on Lough Beg, in Co Londonderry.

Pike Anglers Club members in the area say it comes just weeks after fish have spawned in the shallow lake on the Lower Bann system.

Specialist cleaners were still trying to contain what local media were calling an environmental disaster as darkness fell.

The alarm was raised by the crew of a police helicopter who spotted the oil spill close to Bellaghy, on Tuesday morning.

The disaster is the latest in a series of pollution problems to hit Lough Beg - an SSSI which was previously acknowleged as one of the finest pike fisheries in the Lower Bann system.

Gordon Nesbitt, the PAC's organiser for Northern Ireland, said the spill came after receding levels had killed pike spawn in recent seasons, and the lake had suffered further unexplained kills of adult coarse fish of all species.

The PAC is calling for answers over this - not least why the impact of such pollution outbreaks on the pike and pike fishing never seem to be considered by the powers that be.

Late tonight one TV station called the oil spill "an environmental diaster" - click here.