Displaying items by tag: conservation
Pearl mussels are capable of surviving for up to 140 years, making them Ireland’s longest living animal.
But environmental changed have put tgem on the verge of extinction. The species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and is one of the 365 most endangered species in the world.
In Ireland, 19 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) have been designated in an effort to conserve the pearl mussel in its native habitats.
‘We are hopeful that over time this joint project will lead to a positive outcome for the freshwater pearl mussel in Ireland’
And the new programme — to be based at the Marine Institute’s Newport Research Facility in Co Mayo, close to one of the last remaining reproducing populations of freshwater pearl mussels — is hoped to safeguard the survival of the rare species into the future.
“Captive breeding programmes are already well established in several countries, and we are hopeful that over time this joint project between the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service will lead to a positive outcome for the freshwater pearl mussel in Ireland,” said Dr Áine O'Connor of the NPWS.
One of the reasons for the decline of the freshwater pearl mussel is the low survival rate among juveniles, which are extremely sensitive to slight changes in environmental conditions. This is leading to an ageing population, not capable of replenishing itself.
Juvenile survival is dependent on a clean riverbed, with little silt, sediment or algal growth. These mussels also have a very unusual life cycle, in that they are dependent on the Atlantic salmon and brown trout to host their larvae, called glochidia, for about 10 months. The captive breeding programme is targeted at this crucial life stage.
‘This small experimental population will be given a year to see if the juveniles grow to the stage where they can settle themselves in a suitable habitat’
Work on the programme began this past June when a tank in the Marine Institute’s hatchery was set up with 300 juvenile salmon. In July, 30 adult mussels were removed from the Newport River and transported to the tank.
The project team are currently waiting to see if mussels will release glochidia and whether these will naturally attach themselves to the gills of the salmon.
If successful, the Marine Institute and NPWS will maintain this small experimental population for a year to see if the juveniles grow to the stage where the mussels can detach from the fish and settle themselves in a suitable habitat.
“Historically, we know the Burrishoole catchment [in the area around Newport] contained pearl mussels, which gives us some confidence that the water supply to the hatchery on Lough Feeagh is suitable for long-term maintenance of the mussel populations,” said Marine Institute zoologist Dr Elvira de Eyto.
The pilot captive breeding programme is a partnership between the Marine Institute and NPWS in conjunction with freshwater pearl mussel specialists Evelyn Moorkens and Ian Killeen.
Tralee Bay is a “major nursery” for sharks and rays in Irish waters, says a local marine wildlife expert.
And Kevin Flannery insists the important breeding ground for the likes of angel sharks and porbeagle sharks needs protection.
Marine biologist Flannery, of Dingle OceanWorld, described the little-known nursery off the Kerry coast as “a Serengeti of the Atlantic for rays and sharks”.
And as National Biodiversity Week begins, he’s calling for Tralee Bay to be designated as a marine protected area to provide a safe haven for the many species that lay their eggs there in summer months.
The Irish Mirror has more on the story HERE.
Three wildlife trusts in the north-east of England have been boosted with a £300,000 (€345,000) award from a major grantmaking charity for efforts to protect marine wildlife and habitats in the Irish Sea.
As the Chester Standard reports, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has given the five-year grant to fund staff carrying out marine policy work and promotion in the north-west region and the wider Irish Sea.
“The funding will enable us to continue our work to protect and lobby for Marine Protected Areas as well as raise awareness about issues affecting our marine life and champion the sustainable management of our seas,” said Martin Varley, operations director with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
The grant will also support collaborative work with fellow wildlife trusts in Lancashire and Cumbria, which have already secured public and political support for the designation of 10 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea.
The Cheshire Standard has much more on the story HERE.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced that he has approved a new conservation measure that will provide legal protection for v-notched crawfish. The measure received widespread support when the Minister discussed it with industry representatives during today’s meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF) at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty, Co Cork.
The conservation measure stems from a proposal initiated by members of the fishing industry in the southwest, in consultation with the Marine Institute, which sought legal protection for crawfish v-notched under a Marine Institute project in that region. At today’s NIFF meeting, the Minister also invited the Forum members and the marine agencies to provide their views on an appropriate lead-in period for the new measure.
Commenting on the introduction of the measure, Minister Creed said, “I am pleased to announce the approval of this measure, which has the potential to support the recovery of the crawfish stock in its traditional fishery areas along the South West and West coasts. The Inshore Fisheries Forums, now five years old, continue to embrace the challenge of developing measures to support the sector on the path to long-term sustainability. I have asked my officials to draft the appropriate legal instrument to implement this measure.”
The proposal to protect v-notched crawfish was developed by the North West Kerry Shellfish Co-operative in collaboration with the Marine Institute. It arose from a scientific project carried out over the last two years by the Marine Institute and commercial fishermen targeting crawfish in the southwest. The project, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Biodiversity Scheme, seeks biological data on crawfish and investigates crawfish migration.
The proposal was submitted to the South West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum, which brought it forward to the NIFF for wider industry discussion. The NIFF recommended the proposal to the Minister in January.
The crawfish measure was among a range of inshore fishing issues discussed with industry representatives at the today’s NIFF meeting, which also included implementation of the Inshore Fisheries Sector Strategy as well as proposals for the mackerel hook and line fishery and the management of the landing of crab claws.
Protection of v-notched crawfish
When the legal instrument has been introduced by Minister Creed, it will prohibit Irish sea-fishing boats from landing or retaining on board v-notched crawfish. Such crawfish will need to be returned alive to the sea. It will also prohibit v-notched crawfish from being offered for sale.
A crawfish is ‘v-notched’ through the removal of a v-shaped notch from one of the flaps (known as uropods) either side of the central part of the tail (telson) of a crawfish when it is first caught. A similar provision is in place to protect v-notched lobster under S.I. No. 591 of 2014 (Lobster (Conservation of Stocks) Regulations 2014) and has proved a popular and effective stock management tool.
Projects for pearl mussels and conservation of breeding curlew are among the 23 schemes being carried out nationwide under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP), as highlighted in a new exhibition in Dublin.
Agriculture House on Kildare Street is currently showcasing the innovation under the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s EIP/locally led schemes in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch yesterday (Wednesday 17 April), Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “We are committed to building a sustainable agricultural system that respects the environment. The agriculture sector is determined to play its part in responding to the challenges before us on climate, water quality and biodiversity.
“We are investing €59m in these locally-led schemes to achieve these goals at a local level by stimulating and developing innovative new approaches to tackling environmental challenges in a targeted way. This targeted approach to specific challenges in specific areas can complement our larger national agri-environmental schemes.”
The exhibition highlights the varied works undertaken by the EIP Project groups including projects on biodiversity, organic production, pollinators, water quality, flood management, soils, farming in an archaeological landscape and targeting un-utilised agricultural biomass.
The exhibition is open to the public to visit before going nationwide to other DAFM offices for display there. Following its display in Dublin, the exhibition will be moving to the department’s office at Johnstown Castle Estate in Wexford.
The funding has been made available for fisheries conservation projects and development projects nationwide through the National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD).
Applications are invited from angling clubs, local development associations, tidy towns and others who may be looking to carry out projects.
The 2019 funding call consists of three schemes.
The NSAD Capital Grants Scheme 2019 (€136,000) is aimed specifically at capital improvement works with grants available to groups and individuals looking to improve angling access and infrastructure in their locality.
The Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund focuses on the protection of both salmon and sea trout. It will fund rehabilitation, protection and conservation projects, all of which must focus on salmon or sea trout. This fund replaces the Salmon Conservation Fund and extends it to include both salmon and sea trout with project values starting from €2,000 for awareness projects. The upper limit of €15,000 has been removed.
The Midlands Fisheries Fund (€50,000) will focus on conservation and rehabilitation projects in the midland fisheries permit area. The fund has been created through contributions from the permit income received via the Midlands Fisheries Group permit area.
Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, said: “Since the inception of the National Strategy for Angling Development, we have invested €3.4 million in fisheries development, protection and conservation projects across the country.
“Progress is being made in the delivery of projects which support vital fisheries conservation and rehabilitation and which enhance Ireland’s angling offering. The fisheries resource should be enjoyed by all and this funding call today once more will help bring angling to the broader community in a conservation focused manner.”
Suzanne Campion of IFI said it looks forward to working with community groups from application to delivery stage on their projects.
“We are already partnering with over a hundred clubs and associations in the delivery of fisheries projects. The commitment of these groups in making a valuable difference to their locality is inspiring.”
For more information about the 2019 funding call, to download an information booklet and to submit an Expression of Interest, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie/funding.
All applicants must apply through the Expression of Interest, which opens today (Tuesday 16 April), to progress to full application. Full applications may be submitted from Monday 20 May with the closing date for applications on Thursday 20 June.
IFI will be hosting information workshops over the coming weeks for those looking for further information or support with the application process:
- Dublin — Citywest Hotel — Monday 29 April
- Cavan — Cavan Crystal Hotel — Tuesday 30 April
- Donegal — Harvey’s Point — Wednesday 1 May
- Ballina — The Great National Hotel — Thursday 2 May
- Galway — Maldron Hotel, Oranmore — Friday 3 May
- Limerick — Maldron Hotel — Tuesday 7 May
- Tralee — Ballygarry Hotel — Wednesday 8 May
- Cork City — Rochestown Park Hotel — Thursday 9 May
- Kilkenny — Ormonde Hotel — Friday 10 May
Anglers are needed as citizen scientists for a new National Salmon Scale Project, says Sean Canney TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector.
Minister Canney said: “As we celebrate International Year of the Salmon, this project will help researchers understand the challenges which salmon are facing today.
“The project, which has been initiated by Inland Fisheries Ireland, aims to collect vital information through scales taken from salmon and sea trout which are caught in Irish rivers and lakes and will contribute to international efforts to conserve wild salmon.”
Fish scales record the life history of a salmon, and one scale can reveal a lot about the lifestyle and behaviour of the fish.
Scales can tell scientists what age the fish is, how many winters it spent at sea, how many times it spawned, how slow or fast it grew, what it ate and how long it spent in the river before it went out to sea.
Scales can also reveal the general feeding area where the salmon travelled to in the ocean, whether it went to the Faroe Islands, the Norwegian Sea or all the way to West Greenland. Scales help scientists to understand the biology and ecology of Irish salmon and sea trout.
As part of the project, anglers are asked to take a scale sample from a salmon or sea trout by gently scraping and removing approximately 20 fish scales using a clean knife, then post their samples to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) using the sample envelopes which will be made available to them.
Scales can be removed from both harvested and catch-and-release fish. Sampling of fish for release should be handled carefully and fish should be only briefly removed from the water with every effort made to avoid injury or stress while weight should be estimated.
Information from salmon scales is used in setting conservation limits for Irish rivers. Conservation limits for each river are set based on the proportion of salmon who have spent one winter at sea and those that have spent multiple winters at sea.
The conservation limit for a river represents the number of spawning salmon required to produce the next generation of salmon and this information helps inform angling regulations and management. Information from scales on multi-sea winter salmon entering rivers in spring is also important for managing individual river stocks.
Dr Paddy Gargan, senior research officer at IFI, said: “It is important to have anglers collecting scales as they can provide broad coverage across Ireland and collect scales throughout the fishing season.
“A scale resource which includes many different river systems in Ireland over several years is a great asset from a research perspective as it allows us to examine the factors affecting salmon survival at sea. We can compare how factors, such as climate change, are impacting survival by analysing today’s salmon scales alongside those from many decades ago.”
All scales collected through the National Salmon Scale Project will be added to the National Salmon Scale Archive which is managed by IFI.
The archive, which consists of a dedicated storage facility and associated database, currently holds 19,300 scale samples from a total of 38 rivers representing 152 sampling years. The National Salmon Scale Project aims to increase the scale resource available to scientists for ongoing and future research.
IFI’s head of research and development Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “Ultimately the National Salmon Scale Project will help inform future salmon management policies and activities.
“It is fitting therefore that we are launching this campaign during International Year of the Salmon which aims to raise awareness of what humans can do to ensure salmon and their habitats are conserved and restored against a backdrop of several environmental pressures. This project offers anglers a very tangible and practical way of playing an active role in salmon conservation.”
For more information on the National Salmon Scale Project, including how to take a sample safely and to request sample envelopes, visit the project webpage. To find out more about International Year of the Salmon visit YearOfTheSalmon.org.
#MarineWildlife - A new project which aims to promote international action and co-operation to conserve vulnerable migratory fish species launched yesterday, Thursday 28 March.
The DiadES initiative will see 30 partners from different countries participate in this European project, with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) leading out on the project in Ireland.
The project launches as migratory fish and their habitats continue to come under pressure as a result of human activity and climate change.
It will focus on fish such as shads, lampreys, salmon, trout and mullet which are known as ‘diadromous’ fish as they migrate between fresh and salt waters to reproduce or feed.
The DiadES initiative intends to improve knowledge of the ecological, economic and cultural benefits offered by these migratory species while assessing the possibility of these species changing their locations due to climate change.
It will also examine the emergence of new interactions between fish territories as a result of these relocations.
In addition to collaboration across research and knowledge sharing between countries, the project will take a global multidisciplinary approach.
It will focus on several species across different geographical areas and involve researchers in the field of natural sciences and environmental economists as well as an experienced network of fish managers.
As part of the research, a transnational interactive atlas will be produced which will outline the current distribution of diadromous fish and how they help the ecosystem. This will forecast trends in the geographical distribution of various species and look at possible redistribution of some species as a result of climate change.
The programme will also design a platform for stakeholders to explore different management strategies.
Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “Throughout their life cycle, diadromous fish provide ‘ecosystem services’. This means they provide food, regulate and support the ecosystem through the nutrient cycle and offer a recreational pursuit to local communities. All of these fish generate significant ecological, economic and cultural benefits for local communities across Europe.
“We are keen to play our role in assessing and enhancing the role these fish play while also assisting them as they navigate the effects of climate change which has resulted in a reduction in their distribution.”
The DiadES project is led by the French research institute Irstea and is financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the value of €2.2 million.
#Angling - Submissions are now open in a public consultation hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) around a proposed angling bye-law which focuses on the conservation of sea trout and brown trout on the River Bandon.
The new bye-law aims to help conserve the numbers of brown trout of all sizes taken from upstream areas of the river and its tributaries, as well as the numbers of young sea trout taken in the lower river and upper estuary.
There is currently no minimum length size specified when catching and retaining a sea trout or brown trout on the river. In addition, there is no ‘bag limit’ on the number of brown trout an angler can retain.
The new bye-law would set a minimum length of 25 centimetres for any sea trout or any brown trout caught and retained on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries, and a bag limit of not more than three brown trout per day on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries.
The bye-law would also require anglers to fish by catch-and-release methods, ban the use of worms, and allow only single barbless hooks in angling for brown trout once the three per-day bag limit had been reached.
Interested parties should make a submission to the consultation in writing. Submissions should be marked ‘Public consultation – River Bandon (Conservation of Trout)’ and be submitted by post to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sunnyside House, Macroom, Co Cork, P12 X602 or by email to [email protected]
The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Monday 31 December. All submissions received by IFI will be published on its website at www.fisheriesireland.ie.
Ken Doyle of Ireland’s Eye Ferries tells Dublin Live that any accidental contamination of the waters from the pipeline, from Clonshaugh to a mile off the small island immediately north of Howth, could have a disastrous knock-on effect on fish stocks — an issue both for sea anglers and local bird and seal colonies.
Five years ago, Clonshaugh in North Co Dublin was chosen as the location for the capital’s wastewater treatment ‘super plant’.
The scheme will connect a 26km orbital sewer through counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath with an outfall pipeline ejecting waste off Ireland’s Eye.
Doyle noted that when the outflow of raw sewage at Howth Head was ended with the opening of the Ringsend treatment plant, improvements in water quality meant “the bird population increased hugely and it’s all positive but I wouldn’t like it to go back to like it was.”
He adds that he is not opposed to the wastewater scheme in principle — only that he and other local residents and businesses want assurances that the plant will not have any negative impact on the environment.