#Angling - A kids' contest for 'best fish costume' is among the events for all the family to mark World Fish Migration Day 2014 this coming Saturday 24 May.
World Fish Migration Day is a one-day global initiative, with local events worldwide, to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish.
The ability of fish to freely migrate is crucial to achieve healthy fish stocks. While most fish are migratory to some degree, some species like those found in the Lower Shannon - Atlantic salmon, trout, sea lamprey and eel - migrate thousands of kilometres to complete their life cycles.
If they can’t migrate, the population will die out. And this has already happened with many species in different places around the world where barriers such as weirs, dams and sluices - built for water management, hydropower and land drainage - prevent fish from completing their life cycle.
Here in Ireland, MulkearLIFE and Inland Fisheries Ireland will host two events highlight the importance of fish migration on the Lower Shannon, with an emphasis on the Mulkear River Catchment and migration of Atlantic salmon and sea lamprey through the Annacotty Weir.
Early in the morning from 6am-8am there will be a live demonstration of sea lamprey successfully traversing the dedicated passes at the Annacotty Weir. The meeting point is the car park at the Mill Bar in Annacotty, Co Limerick. (Please not that this event is dependant on river conditions and the presence of lamprey in the system.)
Later in the day, the Mill Bar car park will host a family fun afternoon from 12 noon - with the aforementioned 'best fish costume' contest plus face-painting, live fish demonstrations and an excursion to Ballyclogh Weir on the Lower Mulkear - all with a view to helping children learn more about the importance of fish migration and healthy river ecosystems.
The Mulkear River, and the wider catchment, forms part of the Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation and is the focus of the EU-funded MulkearLIFE project.
The day out on the Mulkear River is just one of almost 250 events around the world on World Fish Migration Day, starting in New Zealand and following the sun around the world till it sets in Hawaii.
The day is hoped to bring global attention for the need for open rivers and free routes for fish migration.