Angling Notes: River connectivity the goal of European project

Man-made and other barriers that hurt salmon migration among those to be examined

Ireland's rivers are too fragmented due to human activity, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) at the launch of a new European project that aims to restore river connectivity.

Adaptive Management of Barriers in European Rivers (Amber) seeks to raise awareness of the problems posed by stream fragmentation, the pressures on freshwater ecosystems, and the need for innovative solutions to restore river connectivity.

All major rivers across Europe are disconnected to varying degrees from the sea as a result of barriers, with negative impact on many fish species. For example, a survey on the river Nore found 500 instream structures. Not all are barriers to fish passage, but the number indicates the extent of human activity on Irish rivers.

Man-made barriers, the like of dams or weirs, can delay migration of Atlantic salmon and European eel, to name two. As a result, these species have become extinct in certain areas across Europe. Also effected are the less well known Irish migratory species, such as twaite shad and sea lamprey.


Major schemes have had an impact on migration of adult Atlantic salmon in the Shannon, Erne, Liffey and Lee. Studies show that sea lamprey spawn downstream of large weirs, even when spawning areas are available upstream. This means that the species does not spread as widely into headwaters to provide a safeguard if a severe impact occurs in one tributary.

Amber, a €6.2 million, multidisciplinary research project, will see 19 partners from 11 countries combine citizen science and cutting-edge technology to map the distribution of barriers and assess their effects on freshwater organisms. It will encourage citizens to reconnect to Europe’s rivers by mapping location of barriers and assessing their impacts with the help of a smartphone app.

IFI is also working to address fish passage problems in a range of catchments by removing barriers, constructing fish-friendly bypass channels, and/or modifying the structure.

"We are delighted to work with our partners across Europe via this Amber project, which allows us to review river fragmentation and protect our natural capital, says Cathal Gallagher of IFI. "It has a four-year term, from 2016-2020."

For more information, visit

Keep Slaney open

In light of the proposal to shut down the river Slaney for 2017,

Mary Harkin

of Rory’s Tackle Centre has requested that all anglers lodge an appeal to keep the river open on a catch-and-release basis.

“As a member of the Slaney River Trust, protection and conservation of the river is paramount,” Harkin said. “Should the river be shut down, we have serious concerns regarding the damage that will be done by poaching.”

An angling presence would obviously deter poachers while assisting fisheries staff in protecting stocks. Help by sending an appeal to or Inland Fisheries Division, Elm Hse, Earlsvale Rd, Cavan Town. H12 A8H7. Further info on

Whelan to look at the Mulcair


Electricity Supply Board

has requested that

Ken Whelan

carry out an independent review of fishery management options for the Mulcair river in Co


, with a priority on the conservation of salmon. The remit will look at such issues as fishing methods and permit fees.

Dr Whelan has agreed to submit a full report by January. Accordingly, he will welcome submissions from relevant parties, including angling clubs, the general public, state agencies and parties engaged in angling tourism and local accommodation.

Submissions should be made to by Friday, December 16th, with the heading “Mulcair River Review, 2017”. Include name and contact details. These will be acknowledged by email in the week beginning December 19th.

Dr Whelan will, as necessary, make contact with recipients to clarify areas of their submission, and these will be published in his final report. Social media will also be posted with details of report locations.

“It is intended that this review process shall be open and transparent,” he said, “and I look forward to working, over the coming months, with all of those who value angling on the Mulcair.”

Rainbow trout caught and released

The fourth qualifier of the Southside Angling-sponsored winter league at


Trout Fisheries in Co


saw 15 competitors catch 42 rainbow trout. All were recorded and safely returned to the lake.

Results: 1, H Smith, 9 trout, 340cm; 2, R Meghen, 5t, 220cm; 3, P McDonnell, 5t, 210cm; 4, S McGrane, 4t, 181cm; 5, R Fowler, 3t, 137cm. The grand final will be held on Saturday , December 10th.