Reappearance of dead fish worries Ottawa River boaters, swimmers

The federal government says it's aware of a second wave of dead fish to appear in the Ottawa River, less than two weeks after hundreds were found floating in the water.

About 100 dead fish found late Friday east of capital's core

Metres away from where people were launching their boats and swimming on Sunday, numerous dead fish could be seen washed up on the shore of the Ottawa River, just downstream of the Liè​​​​​​​vre River. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Boaters and swimmers out on the Ottawa River on the weekend were concerned to learn about a second wave of dead fish found floating in the water east of the capital's core.

The federal government said it's aware of this second wave of dead fish in the Ottawa and Lièvre rivers Friday, less than two weeks after hundreds more were found floating in the water and washing up on shore.

Officials from Quebec's Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs confirmed a team of biologists and technicians didn't see any new deaths over the weekend.

The ministry said the water isn't dangerous for people, but urged them to be cautious when fishing.

The Quebec government says the same types of fish as before were found dead late Friday. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Some on the water questioned whether it was truly safe.

"We're wondering if it's going to happen again. If it's happened twice, then what's going on?" said France-Hélène Martineau, who was out on the river with her husband and young children Sunday.

She said she chose to go further upstream, past the mouth of the Lièvre River so her kids could swim safely.

She wants the government to do more to determine whether the water is safe.

France-Hélène Martineau says she took her family further upstream in the Ottawa River to swim so they wouldn't be near the dead fish at the confluence with the Liè​​​​​​​vre River. (Yasmine Mehdi/Radio-Canada)

Alain Schryburt said he didn't seen any new dead fish while he was out on his personal watercraft, but two weeks ago was a different story.

"From here to Montebello, it was like hundreds of fish floating," he said. "We were all pointing 'Another one, another one' nonstop."

Alain Schryburt says he didn't see any fish while he was out on the water on Sunday, but nearly two weeks ago he saw hundreds while boating along the Ottawa River. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

He said he's been using the river for the past 20 years and had never seen so many dead fish.

"Something bad is happening if all those fish are dying."

He said he too feels the Quebec government hasn't provided much information about the safety of the water.

Feds investigating

The federal government said it wants to know whether the cause breaks federal environmental law under the Fisheries Act

Penalties could include written warnings, directions, and charges.

Around 15 dead fish could be seen on either side of where the ferry operates from Masson-Angers in Gatineau, Que. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

Some people wondered whether a paper mill or cannabis production plant along the Lièvre River could be to blame.

"We never dump water or liquids into rivers," Hexo said in a French statement about its plant in Masson-Angers, adding that it is confident the situation has nothing to do with its operations.

Calls to White Birch Paper were not returned.