No cause identified in two P. E. I. fish kills

·3 min read

Reports looking into two fish kills in P. E. I. this summer didn’t identify a cause for either incident.

The preliminary reports were published to the provinces’ website in mid- November.

On Aug. 28, a fish kill was reported in the Montrose River in Alma.

Various officials responded and a total of 2,057 brook trout and six sticklebacks were removed from the river.

Water and fish samples were taken to the Environment Canada lab in Moncton, N. B., but the results are not available, and the matter is still under investigation, said the report.

John Lane, co- ordinator of the Cascumpec Bay Watershed Association Inc., is eager to get to the bottom of this latest fish kill, and he’s not the only one.

“I’m disappointed it’s taking this long; I think most people are. Even people in the farming community are saying, ‘ This is serious business, we don’t like it.’ Because it affects their markets as well,” he said.

This is the third fish kill in a decade for the Cascumpec Bay area. After an incident in 2017, Lane and his team built trails to better access the stream after a heavy rain, as a preventive measure, he said.

“But here’s the problem,” said Lane. “It takes five to six years to get your stream back to somewhat normal. So, all the fish that we found this year were mostly small, like 6-, 7-, 8- centimetres, give or take. That means that brook was just starting to come back alive with fish, and bang, you kill them off again.”

He said the million- dollar question is “what’s next?”

“We’ll monitor it closely; we’ll probably do an assessment of the fish population at the end of the year next year.”

NORTH SHORE

Another fish kill occurred earlier in the year on June 3, near Cousins Pond.

The preliminary report did not identify a specific cause, but the information in the report points to a manure spill as a main factor in the fish deaths.

The report said a farmer discovered liquid manure leaking from a pipe and entering the stream. Officials arrived and over the next few days, the leak was stopped, clean up occurred and samples were collected.

In all, more than 500 brook trout were removed from 2.5 kilometres of stream.

A sample of 118 trout were sent to the Environment Canada laboratory in Moncton. The province’s report said the results from these tests are unavailable.

Ten trout were sent to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative ( CWHC) at the Atlantic Veterinary College for necropsy.

The necropsies revealed no major abnormalities in any of the fish and most had recently eaten, suggesting a sudden death.

Each carcass smelled strongly of domestic animal manure, said the CWHC report.

Water temperature and dissolved oxygen were measured by a provincial biologist on June 4 and were within the healthy range for brook trout.

In September, 3,700 fingerling- sized brook trout were released into the Cousins Pond stream.

Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer