CropLife Canada, a national organization that represents pesticide companies, is researching what causes fish kills on P.E.I.

John Purdy

Equipment will be placed in four streams to determine what is causing fish kills on P.E.I., says John Purdy, a research scientist with CropLife Canada. (CBC)

Fish kills have been a problem for years in the province, with western P.E.I. having the most problems recently. The Trout River in West Prince has suffered a fish kill in each of the last few years.

Pesticides are often cited as a cause of fish kills, but CropLife Canada says there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

"Are pesticides the factor, or are they just a contributing factor, or are there other factors that are combining or on their own causing these issues to happen?" said Pierre Petelle, vice president of chemistry at CropLife Canada.

CropLife will monitor the water at four streams this summer that have had problems in the past, including three sites at Barclay Brook, which has also suffered fish kills in the last three summers, and one at Little Pierre Jacques Stream.

In total 1,400 samples of water will be analyzed for salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and other factors.

Dale Cameron

Dale Cameron of Trout Unlimited is pleased to see industry stepping up to do some research. (CBC)

"We'll be able to see all the trends and do comparisons between those sites," said John Purdy, the senior scientist behind the study.

Dale Cameron of Trout Unlimited, a watershed group in Western P.E.I., said any new data is welcome.

"Unfortunately farmers and watershed groups have pretty limited resources," said Cameron.

"It's nice to see industry, where the actual money is, stepping up to the plate."

CropLife Canada said the study will cost about $250,000 The results are expected to be released in the fall.