The P.E.I. government is taking further steps to protect Island waterways, focusing on one particular area that has been hardest hit by fish kills.

Janice Sherry - custom

The Trout River requires special consideration for protection from fish kills caused runoff from farmland, says Environment Minister Janice Sherry. (CBC)

The Trout River in West Prince has been hit by fish kills in each of the last three years, with pesticides from runoff of farmland being fingered for the blame.

In July of 2012 Environment Minister Janice Sherry CBC News she had new buffer zone regulations ready to present for cabinet approval. Buffer zones create a space between farms and streams, with the aim of keeping farm soil and chemicals out of the water.

Sherry said the new regulations would enhance protection of Island waterways for the 2013 growing season, but they were never put in place.

This new plan would not be implemented across the province, but would focus on the Trout River area, where fish kills keep happening.

"There's a lot of different issues that are sort of unique to that area, so they've been doing a lot of work on looking at the soil conservation plans, land management plans," said Sherry.

Sherry said the government is also considering paying farmers not to farm on certain sensitive plots of land.

Opposition leader Steven Myers said the new regulations are coming too late to prevent any of the three fish kills that took place this year.

"Those expanded buffer zones certainly would have helped in the fish kills this summer," said Myers.

"I'm not sure again if they understand how serious the situation that we're in with some of these streams."

This week government announced in the throne speech it will work with the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance to develop a new Model Watershed Pilot Project. When asked for comment the Watershed Alliance declined, saying it only heard about the program when everyone else did, in the Tuesday throne speech.

For mobile device users: Is the P.E.I. government taking the right approach to the protection of rivers?