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Innovative Fish Counter Opens On Donegal’s River Lackagh

29th May 2017
The River Lackagh is an important salmon fishery and the new counter aims to measure the strength of its recovery The River Lackagh is an important salmon fishery and the new counter aims to measure the strength of its recovery Photo: Alistair Cunningham/Wikimedia

#Angling - Sean Kyne TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, has officially opened a new fish counter facility in the designated spring salmon fishery on the River Lackagh.

The project, which was devised and delivered by Inland Fisheries Ireland, was completed in recent months and will provide important data for the future management of spring salmon, grilse and sea trout stocks for the River Lackagh catchment, which incorporates Lough Beagh, situated in Glenveagh National Park.

This major infrastructural project, which was funded under IFI’s Salmon Conservation Fund, includes installation of a crump weir, Logie fish counter and access road to the Lackagh River at Creeslough, Co Donegal.

The counter will provide verifiable, accurate data on the size, duration and timing of fish migration through the fishery.

The River Lackagh counter project was developed by IFI in response to closure of the River Lackagh salmon fishery in 2007, when scientific advice indicated that salmon stocks had fallen to below their conservation limit.

The salmon fishery remained closed to enable fish stocks re-build until 2013 when electrofishing surveys confirmed that juvenile salmon stocks had recovered sufficiently to allow for the re-opening of the salmon fishery on a ‘catch and release’ basis.

IFI says the new counter will be a valuable addition to its national suite of index counters and represents the organisation’s first counter on the north Donegal coast.

Minister Kyne said he is “delighted to officially open this fish counter which will help protect fish stocks in the area. Angling is a valuable asset to local communities here in Donegal. This development will help us ensure the sustainability of fish populations for future generations.”

IFI chief executive added: “This fish counter provides real time data on fish stocks in the fishery and allows us to adapt to changing stock levels. This is crucial both from a conservation and economic viewpoint as this fishery contains valuable wild fish populations.

“I would like to acknowledge all our partners in this project who recognised the importance of this project and worked with us to delivery this facility for the local area.”

Angling in Ireland currently contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually, supporting upwards of 11,000 jobs which are often in rural and peripheral communities.

IFI’s National Strategy for Angling Development aims to ensure the sustainable development of the natural angling resource in a conservation focused manner. If realised, the strategy could help increase the economic contribution of angling by €53 million annually and support 18,000 jobs.

IFI collaborated with several partners on the River Lackagh project including Donegal County Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and ESB Networks. IFI also acknowledges the assistance of Creeslough & District Angling Association, owners Hillary Keegan and John Coyle and service providers WD Buchanan & Co Ltd, H Harkin Plan Hire Ltd and Source Civil Ltd.

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