Fears of Pollution as Fish Dead in Richmond and Northallerton Rivers

North Yorkshire fishermen area have reported a ‘fish kill’ event in their rivers – which could have a devastating impact on the area’s ecosystem for decades to come.

A die-off has been reported along around seven miles of waterway in Ravensworth, Gilling West and Skeeby, and is thought to be the result of water pollution flowing into the stream from near the A66.

A fish kill, or fish die-off, is the most severe mortality event associated with water pollution – where fish and other aquatic wildlife suffocate due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

The fish kill will be a “massive financial hit” for businesses operate that from the impacted rivers, as well as the communities that surround them.

Olly Shepherd, the owner of Fly Fishing Yorkshire, received a call at 8 am on Thursday (April 13), telling him that Skeeby Beck, which he has fishing rights to, had been hit by a fish kill.

Skeeby Beck, a small river flowing through Gilling West and Skeeby, near to Richmond “ran black for hours on end” and was filled with dead wild fish.  

Olly said: “This fish kill is the highest category of pollution – in my eyes, it is a national disaster. Despite what people think, this won’t be flushed out by heavy rainfall.

“The whole ecosystem is going to be impacted for a long time to come, and it will take years, if not decades to get the river back to where it was.”

The Environment Agency confirmed that they have attended site of a pollution to a watercourse, near Richmond. They said that “officers are on site assessing ecological impacts.”

It is understood that Holme Beck, Billing Beck and Skeeby Beck have all been affected, with pollution flowing through to the Swale, although the impact that this could have is unknown.

Ben Lam, from the Tees River Trust, said: “This is a sad day and complete travesty for our beck.  It comes at a time when juvenile trout and salmon are emerging from gravels, almost all coarse fish are spawning, when the first hatches of fly that feed the fish have started, when breeding pairs of kingfisher and dipper are feeding new hatchlings and otter their new cubs.

“This cannot and must not be allowed to simply be shrugged off as ‘one of those things’ and I am happy to work with others on following this up.”

Others have also waded into the discussion to decry the harm that this pollution could wreak on the North Yorkshire river system.

Fisherwoman Marina Gibson said: “This should not be happening full stop. And if it does (which is way too often) then the perpetrator should be held accountable – no excuses, no coverups. A huge part of my friend’s livelihood is gone after years of nurturing. The river is dead.

Feargal Sharkey also weighed in, quipping “what the hell is going on in Yorkshire at the minute – first Costa Beck polluted, now Skeeby Beck.”

Olly added: “Personally, I have been investing into the river for years – countless hours, so much money – but it is not just me, there are many others that have put in a huge effort to improving the watercourse.

“I was taking good steps forward to improve the river, and we have instantly taken 100 steps back.

“The action that the Environment Agency takes has to be of the highest order for this issue.”

Source: thenorthernecho


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