Bigger fish continue to surface in West Prince

Eric McCarthy
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More than 1,700 fish have been found dead in Barclay Brook and Leard's Pond

[Coleman Corner, PEI]— Dead fish continue to surface in Barclay Brook and Leard’s Pond (Prince Edward Island).


Trout River Natural Area.

Workers gathered up 351 more fish on Monday, (July 9) bringing the recorded total since Thursday (July 5) to 1,788.

It was reported on Monday that 1,890 fish had been counted by Friday night, but a recheck of the data over the weekend resulted in the preliminary number being adjusted to 1,437.

Dead fish first started to show up in Barclay Brook Thursday afternoon, just hours after a cloudburst poured approximately an inch of rain in two hours.

The Thursday afternoon discovery set in motion a dead fish recovery operation and an investigation into the cause.

Rosie MacFarlane, a biologist with the Department of Environment, helped gather the dead fish on Monday and was struck by the number of broodstock counted.

“It’s impressive to see the number of big fish that we’ve seen,” she acknowledged.

“Everyone knew there were big fish here. (But) you don’t realize it until you see them dead.”

MacFarlane said the sheer number of broodstock gives one a greater appreciation of the productivity of Trout River.

Barclay Brook and Kennedy Creek join together about a kilometre above Leard’s Pond, the genesis of Trout River.

“There is nothing dead in the Kennedy Creek,” said Trout Unlimited co-ordinator Dale Cameron. “The dead ones came down the Barclay and joined in (the pond).”

Only a few dead fish were found below Leard’s Pond. MacFarlane said the amount of water in the pond likely helped dilute whatever was in the Barclay Brook water.

“Now we know why there’s so many little fish in this river, because you’ve got so many of those prime broodstock,” said MacFarlane, pausing before adding: “Well, we did.”

An official with the Department of Environment said the investigation into Thursday’s fish kill could be wrapped up by today, but it could be several weeks before lab tests are completed.

Water, soil, foliage and fish tissue samples were collected on Thursday and sent off for analysis.

Cameron, who was not involved in the actual investigation, said the investigation involves working against the flow of the stream.

“You find dead fish and you work backwards until you don’t find any more dead fish,” he explained.

Shane Perry, a worker with Trout Unlimited’s Prince County chapter,

said it was ironic that Thursday’s fish kill struck the same stream as an incident that wiped out a large number of broodstock last July.

“There must be a problem in that area,” he concluded.

Despite the number of broodstock, MacFarlane denied that Trout River and the streams that empty into it are healthy.

She said there is too much sediment present.

MacFarlane estimated the weight of the 351 fish gathered up on Monday likely exceeded that of the 1,437 discovered Thursday and Friday.

The Guardian


Organizations: Department of Environment

Geographic location: Barclay Brook, Trout River, West Prince Kennedy Creek Prince

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