Officials deny fish kill

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 May, 2006, 12:00am

Agriculture officials denied yesterday that a recent operation to crack down on backyard poultry farming caused a big kill of fish at a Lok Ma Chau farm. The farmer claims 200,000 grey mullet fry were killed when Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department officers trapped ducks on a pond at the farm on Tuesday.

But the department said its actions in rounding up the ducks with nets and strings were unlikely to have caused such a big fish kill.

The farm, in Ma Tso Lung, had its licence to keep poultry revoked in March last year.

The dispute is the latest in a string of rows between the department and farmers over its crackdown on backyard poultry farming, which was banned in February to help stop the spread of bird flu.

The farm owner, giving his name only as Mr Kwan, claimed the dead stock cost about $130,000 and said he was seeking legal advice about suing the department.

Senior veterinary officer Mary Chow Ka-wai said: 'We all realise that it is not always easy to catch animals. We used both nets and strings on the surface of the water to draw the ducks to the shore. In theory, the action is unlikely to cause massive death of fish.'