IFI to lead fish passage improvement project at Limerick weir

Angling: Salmon-monitoring project launched; and a memorable rainbow trout hooked

 Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear river in Co Limerick

Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear river in Co Limerick

 

The Minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, Eamon Ryan, has announced that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to lead the Annacotty weir fish passage improvement project in collaboration with State agencies and local stakeholders.

The weir, on the lower Mulkear river in Co Limerick, is identified as a barrier to the free movement of several fish species, including Atlantic salmon, and the work is intended to be a pilot project for the design of a national barriers restoration programme.

Currently, the national programme is being progressed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in partnership with a range of State bodies and is expected to be announced in the draft River Basin Management Plan, to be published shortly.

The pilot will provide an opportunity to test an ecology-focused design approach towards future mitigation projects and will also test community opportunities that go beyond the standard consultation practices involved in the planning process.

The Mulkear is considered a vital river for a range of species including wild Atlantic salmon, sea, river and brook lamprey, wild brown trout and eels. The majority of the main river and its tributaries are designated as a special area of conservation under the EU habitats directive.

Mr Ryan, said: “Free passage of fish is key to the sustainability of our precious fish stocks and the protection of biodiversity along our rivers. This project will help protect the Mulkear as one of our most valuable river habitats.”

Francis O’Donnell, chief executive of IFI, added: “Our research and operations divisions have vast knowledge, expertise and project management skills in the delivery of these important projects.”

Salmon-monitoring project launched

*Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has launched a project to monitor salmon smolts along the river Usk in south Wales. The plan of action, with support from The Wye and Usk Foundation, involves tagging about 100 smolts each year with acoustic transmitters.

These devices will be picked up by more than 30 receivers deployed throughout the river to provide scientists with data related to survival rates and migration behaviour. The project aims to help inform future salmon management and conservation work.

Oliver Brown, NRW aquaculture officer, said: “Salmon numbers are at record lows in Welsh rivers and in other parts of the world. When we see species numbers dropping like this, we need to understand what’s causing the problem and what can be done to safeguard their survival.”

Competition winners

*As part of “Go Fishing Week”, one overall winner and five runners-up were chosen from entries received from across Ireland in the national video “Why I Love to Fish” competition.

Michael Galvin and his son Cathal from Longford took top honours followed by Angela Byrne, Anthony Murnane, Christopher Eleker, Maud Finn and her twin boys and Michael Heron.

The winning Galvin duo will receive €100 worth of tackle. It was gratifying to learn some of the runners-up opted for a buoyancy aid as part of their prize.

Angling survey

*An online survey launched in August last year to gather information from Irish sea anglers on behaviours, attitudes and catch preferences, is almost complete and ready to roll out with catch diary and full survey report, according to Diarmuid Ryan, research officer with inland fisheries.

In the meantime, a second useful survey for sea anglers can be found at fisheriesireland.ie.

Man fined for assaulting fisheries officers

*Craig Brew from Clonmel was convicted last month by judge Marian O’Leary at Cork District Court on five charges including assaulting fisheries officers while fishing in a prohibited area known as the “flush” at the face of the ESB Inniscarra Dam in May 2020.

The defendant was fined €500 for illegal entry on the private fishery; €400 for obstructing the officers; €500 for assault and €300 for not having a salmon rod ordinary licence.

The judge also fined the defendant €300 for using a vehicle to aid the commission of an offence and also considered an ancillary disqualification for use of the vehicle.

Costs of €400 were awarded to Inland Fisheries Ireland and an order for forfeiture of fishing rods used was granted.

Michael Sheehan with a rainbow trout of approx 5lb from Knockaderry Lake in Kilmeaden, Co Waterford.
Michael Sheehan with a rainbow trout of approx 5lb from Knockaderry Lake in Kilmeaden, Co Waterford.

Magnificent rainbow trout hooked

*Michael Sheehan from Co Waterford caught a magnificent rainbow trout of about 5lb last Sunday on Knockaderry Lake in Kilmeaden on a small gold-head olive nymph. “Both Carrigavantry and Knockaderry lakes are fishing very well presently. Buzzers and olives boats are catching well into double figures for a full day,” he said.

angling@irishtimes.com

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