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Inland Fisheries Ireland Set to Lead on Fish Passage Improvement at Annacotty Weir

5th May 2021
Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River
Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River Credit: IFI

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to lead on the Annacotty weir fish passage improvement project, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has announced.

Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River outside Limerick has been identified as a significant barrier to the free movement of several fish species including wild Atlantic salmon; sea, river and brook lamprey; wild brown trout; and eels.

The majority of the main river and its smaller tributaries in the catchment are designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive.

Minister Ryan, who has responsibility for inland fisheries, 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. I am delighted that Inland Fisheries Ireland will lead this project, and that their in-house expertise on fish passage mitigation will ensure it is delivered to the highest standard.”

IFI says it will progress these works as a pilot project in collaboration with various State agencies and key stakeholders “through the multiple phases involved in improvement of fish passage at the weir”.

This pilot includes the design and implementation of a national barriers restoration programme currently being progressed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and which is expected to be announced in the draft River Basin Management Plan to be published shortly.

It will also be an opportunity “to test a collaborative and ecology-focused design approach towards informing similar future mitigation projects” as well as evaluate “enhanced community engagement opportunities that go beyond the standard consultation practices involved in the planning process”.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell added: “Ensuring the free passage of fish is a main priority for our agency as we conserve and protect our inland fisheries resource.”

Published in Angling
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