The dead fish were washed up on a 12-mile stretch of the south Donegal and Leitrim coast
The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority has said the discovery of hundreds of dead fish on the south Donegal coast was a natural occurrence.
An investigation was launched after the fish were washed up on a 12-mile stretch of the south Donegal and Leitrim coast.
The fish washed up on Tuesday and have been found along the coast from the mouth of the Drowes River in Leitrim to Rossnowlagh.
The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) said Killybegs based Sea Fisheries Protection Officers (SFPOs) travelled to Bundoran on Tuesday and Wednesday to investigate a possible fish kill.
The SFPA said its officers discovered a significant amount of horse mackerel on the shoreline.
“SFPOs inspected the fish on-site and established that many of them were bloated and full of sprat.
“Having re-visited the site again this morning (Wednesday) they have concluded that a shoal of horse mackerel, chasing sprat on an ebb tide on Tuesday evening resulted in a sizeable number of the shoal stranding on the beach. This is not an unusual occurrence, although the scale of this incident is not typical.”
The SFPA said it will liaise with both Leitrim and Donegal local authorities in relation to the incident, although it was expected that most of the fish would go out on the next tide.
Bundoran surfer and owner of the TurfnSurf surf school, Killian O'Kelly, said he had never seen anything like it in over 30 years of surfing in the area.
“I don’t know what the cause of it is but it is from the Drowes to Kildoney Point at Rossnowlagh. It is a massive quantity of fish. I don’t know where they came from,” he said.
“There is a huge amount and they all seem to be about the same size and the same type.
“I was surfing The Peak (in Bundoran) and there are loads of birds eating fish on the reef. You never see fish on that reef. It’s very noticeable. A lot of the surfing community are very concerned about it. They are shocked and they want answers.”
One local angler said he believed the fish were discarded by a fishing trawler.
The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed the fish were dumped by a palegic boat that was passing.