Experts say Limerick weir is harming native fish species

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FINDING a solution to problems caused by the weir at Annacotty for local fish populations was the subject of a public meeting in Limerick last week.

Almost 60 people turned out for a meeting at the Castletroy Park Hotel organised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to hear about the Annacotty Fish Passage Project.

The attendance included local community groups, angling clubs, government departments, State agencies, and environmental organisations.

A spokeswoman for IFI said that the weir has been classified as a “significant barrier” to fish, negatively impacting on survival rates for species like the wild Atlantic salmon, lamprey, wild brown trout, and eels.

Brian Coghlan, a research officer with the National Barriers Programme, gave a presentation about how the weir acts as an artificial barrier to certain fish species and the resulting problems for their lifecycle.

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Alan Cullagh, a fisheries development inspector with Inland Fisheries Ireland, talked about how the problems could be overcome and what solutions were being used in Ireland and internationally to improve fish passage at barriers.

Other contributors included fisheries inspector Catherine Hayes and environmental officer Jane Gilleran, both with Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Closing the session, Suzanne Campion, head of business development with Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The Annacotty Fish Passage Project is a very important step towards improving access to fisheries habitat on the Mulkear River and it is heartening to see the public interest in this project”.

“As we highlighted at our public information meeting, we are seeking the views of the public to help inform the most appropriate solution for improving fish passage at Annacotty. This, along with environmental and technical assessments, will enable us to put the preferred option forward for planning permission.”

More information about the Annacotty Fish Passage Project here