#AsianClam - The Minister for Natural Resources has commented on plans for dredging at Lough Ree to deal with the recent invasion of Asian clam at Lanesborough.
As reported earlier this week on Afloat.ie, the 'hot water' stretch downstream of the ESB plant near the Co Longford town has reopened to angling under strict bio-security conditions, with disinfection for anglers' gear mandatory.
In his written response to Dáil questions on the matter from Longford-Westmeath TD James Bannon and Roscommon-South Leitrim deputy Denis Naughten, Minister Joe McHugh said on 4 November that despite the "early action" taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to close the fishery, "it is important that all understand that Asian Clam, like many other aquatic invasive species, is extremely pervasive in the environment, and once in a water body it is likely that operations will be focused on managing the infestation rather than eradication."
He added that "responding to this infestation will require co-ordinated action from a number of State agencies and IFI has been facilitating and chairing meetings of relevant agencies since 19 September."
According to the minister, IFI co-ordinated the latest of these meeting on 29 October involving Waterways Ireland, the ESB, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bord Na Mona and Longford and Roscommon County Councils.
"A method statement for removal works was submitted by Waterways Ireland," he said. "This statement is being considered by the relevant agencies, including Statutory regulatory bodies.
"In the first instance it is anticipated that a trail dredge will take place in advance of a full scale dredging operation. In advance of this an EPA licence will be required for disposal of the dredged material and the classification of the materials will have a bearing on the method and cost of disposal.
"At this point I understand that the overall cost of a full scale dredging operation has yet to be established. However, this will become clear once the material classification is available and it will be possible to accurately estimate the cost."