12 September 1997

Sheep dip killing river life, report fishermen

LANDOWNERS claim there is growing evidence to show pyrethroid sheep dip residues are wiping out river life in some areas despite MAFF guidelines for safe disposal.

In Derbyshire the Country Landowners Association has asked farmers to take extra care over pyrethroid dip disposal after it was alerted by anglers to pollution linked to the dip on the river Dove.

Peter Geldart, CLA East Midlands regional secretary, said the problem on the Dove this summer was not an isolated incident. Similar reports had been received from other rivers including the Warwicks Avon, the Upper Severn and the Wye.

He said members of the Derbyshire County Angling Club, which has a two mile stretch of trout and grayling flyfishing water on the Dove, reported an almost total absence of mayfly this summer. They also found freshwater shrimp, another primary food source for fish, had largely disappeared. The Environment Agency was called in and confirmed the anglers findings, said Mr Geldart.

"A sample index of river life which usually registers a figure 170 on this stretch of the Dove had fallen as low as 38. Pyrethroids were found in the river silt which must almost certainly have originated from some of the sheep farms upstream," he said.

Even in tiny quantities pyrethroids could cause havoc in a river, added Mr Geldart.