Fish kill in South Nation River was ‘natural phenomenon’

CORNWALL/CRYSLER, Ont. – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has concluded a fish kill in the South Nation River last month was caused by natural elements.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Senior Environmental Officer Stephanie Valade said they did a field assessment on June 20 near the Crysler Bridge and then went upstream to the bridge in St. Albert and other points of the river around the town.

“At the time, the South Nation Conservation Authority was assuming that it was a natural fluctuation in temperature. Whenever temperature increases the level of oxygen can decrease in the river, which basically asphyxiates the fish, and that’s what can kill them,” Valade said.

“Stopping along certain different parts of the river, we determined that there will no spills that would have caused a fish kill like this. We determined that it was a natural phenomenon.”

While there were reports of roughly 100 fish on the river, Valade said they only saw “less than 10 fish” during their site visit last month. “I can’t confirm whether there were 100 fish or not.”

The species the MOECC saw were carp, though Valade said they had received reports of carp and catfish. Valade said carp can be mistaken as a catfish because of their whiskers.

Valade said, based on its findings, the MOECC will likely close the file on this case, the decision doesn’t rest with her.