Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) invites the public to attend an information meeting on the Annacotty Fish Passage project at the Castleroy Park Hotel in Limerick this Tuesday evening 23rd August.
Last year, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan announced that the IFI would lead the Annacotty Fish Passage project as the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats such as the Mulkear.
This week’s public information meeting is being held to raise awareness about the dam project and to encourage as much engagement as possible with stakeholders from across the community, including key state agencies, special interest groups, the voluntary, public and private sectors.
The Mulkear is considered a vital river for a range of fish species including wild Atlantic salmon, sea, river and gliding lamprey, wild brown trout and eels.
Most of the main river and its smaller tributaries in the catchment area are designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.
However, the Annacotty Dam has been identified as a “significant impediment” to the free movement of several species of fish. Last December, more than 10,000 people signed a petition supporting the removal of the dam, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Over the past year, the IFI said it completed an assessment of the spillway structure to quantify its fish passage capacity and undertook title searches to identify owners of land and structures potentially impacted by the spillway. project.
It also secured funding of €99,481 under the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund in May this year. This funding will be used to support the assessment and planning phase of the project to find the most appropriate solutions for fish migration and passage along the Mulkear. Environmental, engineering and technical assessments will also be funded.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the public will have the opportunity to learn more about potential solutions being explored to improve fish passage through the dam.
Prior to the public meeting, Suzanne Campion from IFI said, “The Annacotty Fish Passage project is ongoing. We are in a crucial phase of the project, which is to assess and evaluate the most appropriate solution to improve fish passage at Annacotty. This will allow us to approach another crucial phase: the application for planning permission.
She added: “It’s great to see that the public is more and more interested in this project. We are hosting this public information meeting on August 23 to engage as many people as possible in the conversation about what will happen next at the Annacotty Spillway to help improve fish passage.
Online registration for the free event, from 6pm at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick, is available via the IFI website HERE.
The work on Annacotty Weir is part of a pilot project to assist in the design and implementation of a national barrier restoration program currently underway by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in collaboration with various state agencies.
The interagency group for the Annacotty Fish Passage project includes representatives from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications; Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Limerick City and County Council; Office of Public Works (OPW); National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); Local Authority Water Program (LAWPRO); and BSE.
More information about the Annacotty Fish Passage project and the upcoming public information meeting can be found at www.fisheriesireland.ie/annacotty.