It follows several pollution-related fish kills over the past year – in the Ballymartin River tributary of the Six Mile Water in August 2015, and in October and December 2015 in the Glenavy River.
Mr Ford said it was important such incidents were prevented from reoccurring.
“These incidents were shocking and a clear reminder we need a stronger and safer way of managing our rivers. Aside from the obvious animal cruelty issues, every time a river is polluted in such a way and fish killed, it damages the livelihood of all anglers who use the river to fish.
“I welcome the potential prosecutions but it is crucial we do something to prevent similar incidents happening again in future, as prosecutions alone are not enough. People need to be made aware of their responsibilities and we need to ensure they dispose of any waste in an environmentally friendly way.
“An independent Environmental Protection Agency with strong powers of regulation would be able to help in this regard – helping safeguard our rivers and protecting them against would-be polluters.”