Project will support fish migration on the Mulkear river
Eamon Ryan TD, Minister with responsibility for inland fisheries has announced that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to lead on the Annacotty weir fish passage improvement project. IFI has identified Annacotty weir on the lower Mulkear river as a significant barrier to the free movement of several fish species including Atlantic salmon. IFI will progress this project in collaboration with various state agencies and key stakeholders through the multiple phases involved in improvement of fish passage at the weir.
Minister Ryan 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.’
It is intended that the works on Annacotty Weir will be a pilot project to assist with the design and implementation of a national barriers restoration programme currently being progressed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in collaboration with a range of State Bodies and expected to be announced in the draft River Basin Management Plan to be published shortly.
The restoration programme is aimed at contributing to the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive. The pilot will provide an opportunity to test a collaborative and ecology focussed design approach towards informing similar future mitigation projects undertaken as part of a national restoration programme. The pilot will also test enhanced community engagement opportunities that go beyond the standard consultation practices involved in the planning process.
Francis O’Donnell, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: ‘Inland Fisheries Ireland welcomes Minister Ryan’s decision to appoint IFI as lead on the improvement of fish passage at Annacotty Weir. IFI have been involved in barrier amelioration work for many years and our Research and Operations Divisions have vast knowledge, expertise and project management skills in the delivery of these important projects. Ensuring the free passage of fish is a main priority for our agency as we conserve and protect our inland fisheries resource.’
The Mulkear is considered a vital river for a range of fish species including wild Atlantic salmon, sea, river and brook lamprey, wild brown trout and eels. The majority of the main river and it’s smaller tributaries in the catchment are designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive.