More than 1,000 fish found dead in the North River

Maureen Coulter
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Gogle map of the North River.

More than 1,000 dead fish were collected from the North River in central P.E.I. on Sunday after someone saw the fish and contacted environmental officials on Saturday.

There were four species recovered along 3.5 kilometres of the river, including rainbow trout, brook trout, Atlantic salmon and stickleback. This is the first fish kill on the Island this year.

Water samples were taken revealing oxygen levels and quality were good and the fish appeared healthy and fed, said Rosie MacFarlane, a provincial fisheries biologist.

“You don’t see it in a healthy stream at any given time, you don’t see that number of dead fish.”

MacFarlane said it has been at least three days since the fish died and many were starting to rot during the cleanup Sunday.

“It was a sudden event. They all died at the same time.”

The cleanup will continue through Monday and the Cornwall watershed group has offered to help finish the cleanup, she said.

“It’s unfortunate that we have had another fish kill, particularly in the form of Atlantic salmon. There are so few rivers left with salmon populations.”

MacFarlane said this kill will set salmon populations back in North River.

An investigation is underway with Environment Canada and conservation officers from the province to determine what killed the fish.

 

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: North River, P.E.I., Atlantic Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Willie Wonka
    August 11, 2014 - 18:46

    Nice to see a few eagles around----sad to see them gobbling down dead poisoned fish though----oh right it was DDT that nearly killed them off to begin with. Well-----here we go again folks. I wonder what the next twenty years of a Cavendish MONOPOLY will do to the province---don't you? Gotta make the millions for the billionaires at any cost. Most of this sprayed poisoned laden pesticides is headed downwards folks and guess who gets to drink it. Chlorine only kills bacteria growth---it does nothing to eliminate the poisons of the pesticides. Tell me again what the cancer rate is on PEI. It should be rock bottom in the nation but it has skyrocketed! Deep irrigation wells will do nothing but pull more poison and pesticides downward to replace the pumped out water headed for the potato fields.

  • Willie Wonka
    August 11, 2014 - 18:45

    Nice to see a few eagles around----sad to see them gobbling down dead poisoned fish though----oh right it was DDT that nearly killed them off to begin with. Well-----here we go again folks. I wonder what the next twenty years of a Cavendish MONOPOLY will do to the province---don't you? Gotta make the millions for the billionaires at any cost. Most of this sprayed poisoned laden pesticides is headed downwards folks and guess who gets to drink it. Chlorine only kills bacteria growth---it does nothing to eliminate the poisons of the pesticides. Tell me again what the cancer rate is on PEI. It should be rock bottom in the nation but it has skyrocketed! Deep irrigation wells will do nothing but pull more poison and pesticides downward to replace the pumped out water headed for the potato fields.

  • Fishy
    August 11, 2014 - 16:54

    You can get arrested and charged a hefty fine if you hook a salmon and don't release it. Mass killings, no worries. I think livestock is more valuable than growing potatoes.

  • Sal
    August 11, 2014 - 14:53

    Fishkill 2014 !

  • voter
    August 11, 2014 - 14:48

    Home » News » National Pesticides suspected as 1,000 dead fish found in PEI’s North River CHARLOTTETOWN — The Canadian Press Last updated Monday, Aug. 11 2014, 10:38 AM EDT Fishermen rake oysters on the North River near Charlottetown, PEI, on May 27, 2003. (ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)(picture not available) For the fourth time in four years, the Prince Edward Island government says it’s investigating a significant fish kill in one of its waterways. Investigators suspect pesticides are the reason for the deaths of about 1,000 fish, said Wayne MacKinnon, a spokesman for the Environment Department. “We probably think it’s pesticide runoff,” he added.. Brook trout, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon were found along a 3.5-kilometre stretch of the North River, MacKinnon said. Existing regulations require a buffer zone between streams and planted fields, he said, and there are also rules that prevent planting on slopes that run towards waterways. He said conservation officers and Environment Canada officials will collect samples of both fish and water, and they will also investigate conditions on surrounding farms. Last year, fish also died in Barclay Brook in western PEI, where thousands of fish died in 2011 and 2012 after pesticides from farmers’ fields seeped into the water. NDP Leader Mike Redmond says the damage to tourism and the fishery is significant, but the province hasn’t been firm enough in its enforcement of existing regulations. MacKinnon said there is a review of existing regulations on the use of pesticides. He said a committee that includes the PEI Potato Board, the farming industry and the provincial government is looking at measures to reduce pesticide runoffs. “We’ve gone so far as to purchase one of the fields that was involved to take it out of production,” he said, referring to last summer’s incident in the Barclay Brook area.

  • george
    August 11, 2014 - 14:23

    go FARMERS kILL all the fish you the boys

  • Birt
    August 11, 2014 - 13:57

    Find the source, Fine the one responsible,Post the name of the one responsible, or company. Do the best of our ability to not allow this to happen again not just the gov but everyone in the general area of any waterway, stop the negative comments, and work together to come up with a solution, these are our waters, our island, our farms, lets use duty of care folks if not for us but for our children, and for the future wildlife and fisheries.

  • Birt
    August 11, 2014 - 13:55

    Find the source, Fine the one responsible,Post the name of the one responsible, or company. Do the best of our ability to not allow this to happen again not just the gov but everyone in the general area of any waterway, stop the negative comments, and work together to come up with a solution, these are our waters, our island, our farms, lets use duty of care folks if not for us but for our children, and for the future wildlife and fisheries.

  • Ed Gallant
    August 11, 2014 - 11:12

    How come I have to read it in the Globe & Mail that a direct quote from Wayne McKinnon, head of Envionment thinks that it is a result of pesticide runoff? Why isn't the Guardian printing these quotes? Instead, you have Rosie MacFarland, a provincial fisheries biologist saying that the fish appeared healthy. How can a fish that has been dead for three days appear healthy? How do healthy fish all die at the same time, as she is quoted as saying?

  • Ed Gallant
    August 11, 2014 - 11:11

    How come I have to read it in the Globe & Mail that a direct quote from Wayne McKinnon, head of Envionment thinks that it is a result of pesticide runoff? Why isn't the Guardian printing these quotes? Instead, you have Rosie MacFarland, a provincial fisheries biologist saying that the fish appeared healthy. How can a fish that has been dead for three days appear healthy? How do healthy fish all die at the same time, as she is quoted as saying?

  • John MacDonald
    August 11, 2014 - 07:54

    Three words: follow the money. We all pay in the end for the greed of big farmers. I have heard the decline of songbirds near planted fields and seen the dead birds. Our region has record cancer rates due to exposure to agricultural chemicals. Our water table delivers you and me the same as what killed these fish. And the big farms want permission for deeper well drilling to increase production. Don't be fooled. Organic farming is the only solution.

  • distrustful
    August 11, 2014 - 07:09

    Mass suicide? C'mon, are we going to start covering this up so the government can play the potato game? Stop treating the population of the Island as if we were stupid. I do wonder if there would be a legal case against government/farmers....It seems there are rights for everything else.. how about the right to live in a healthy environment ?

  • Here We Go
    August 11, 2014 - 06:43

    We must have the most useless government possible. How many times are they going to allow these fish kills to continue. There's nothing being done to even enforce the smidgen of laws that we do have and Sherry just puts her hands over her ears and sings when anyone tries to enlighten her. I am so fed up with this place. I never thought I would ever think about leaving but-

    • Bill Meeker
      August 11, 2014 - 10:36

      Here we go, so you are saying there were never any fish kills on Island rivers until the Ghiz government came on the scene. Man, you are dumber then you first seemed.

    • reality
      August 11, 2014 - 10:46

      here we go -i agree 100% people like meeker can not address the issue -they can only lower themselves by calling the original poster names and lending more credibility and attention to your comments

  • disgusted
    August 10, 2014 - 22:01

    Another run-off of chemical pesticides from some potato farm no doubt. Deep water wells - forget it !!!

  • intobed
    August 10, 2014 - 20:36

    I am sure more streams and ponds have dead fish, and just haven't been discovered yet. Until we rise up and make it plain we no longer support our industrial potato farmers, nothing will change. We need to seriously start investigating alternative and safer crops to replace potatoes. If we wait until Irvings leave, it will be too late. PEI needs to move quickly to replace potatoes, so life without the Irvings will not be a financial disaster. We need a healthy environment, but we need a sound financial environment too. We can have both, but we need to start now.

  • asdf
    August 10, 2014 - 20:33

    Honestly don't even think there is a potato field along that portion of the river at all. Investigators may want to check the sewage lagoon though.

    • finally
      August 11, 2014 - 11:19

      Finally...someone who seems to know what they're talking about

    • farmer joe
      August 11, 2014 - 15:43

      You are correct. There is no potato field near the area but folks still jump to conclusions.