Inland Fisheries Ireland, the state agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, is awarding funding to 34 projects in 14 counties under the ‘Habitats and Conservation Scheme 2022’.
In Dublin, funding to the value of €5,000 has been awarded under the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund to the Liffey Salmon Project for a Feasibility study on Leixlip Dam, Leixlip, Co Dublin to assess appropriate options to facilitate fish migration to move through an impassable barrier. €7,402.25 was also awarded to the Liffey Salmon Project under the same fund for planning phase requirements, spawning gravel maintenance and addition on the Lower River Liffey at Leixlip, Lutrellstown Gate and Wrens Nest Co. Dublin to create additional gravel sites to benefit salmon spawning.
Under two separate funds, the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund and the Midland Fisheries Fund, eligible angling clubs, commercial fishermen and fishery owners were invited to apply for financial assistance to support fisheries conservation projects in their local areas.
€1,053,390 in funding for 34 projects has been approved so far this year, going to projects based in Cavan (€35K), Cork (€12K), Donegal (€90K), Dublin (€12K), Galway (€115K), Leitrim (€6K), Limerick (€116K), Louth (€45K), Mayo (€130K), Meath (€224K), Monaghan (€30K), Westmeath (€66K), Wexford (€30K), Wicklow (€9K) and a national project (€135K). Examples of awards granted fisheries conservation funding include:
- planning and assessment reports to find appropriate solutions for fish passage on barriers
- construction of rock ramp passageways to make it easier for fish to migrate upstream and downstream of impassable weirs
- carrying out catchment-focused feasibility studies, habitat management plans and environmental assessments to focus on appropriate and specific measures to benefit river habitats and species
- improvements to water quality and river habitats by installing fences and providing solar powered water pumps to minimise agricultural impacts, thus, encouraging natural riverbank regeneration and climate resilience of the watercourse
- instream restoration works on spawning and nursery habitats for salmon and sea trout and introducing native Irish trees and shrubs along exposed riverbanks to benefit the long-term management of rivers
- research to inform and improve national management strategies around salmonids
The announcement has been welcomed by Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. The Minister said: “The funds awarded this year in the Habitats and Conservation Scheme will go towards a combination of work focused on conserving our freshwater fish and their habitats. The €1 million fund will support angling clubs and fishery owners to improve habitats, water quality and fish passage in their immediate areas, while also supporting IFI personnel to deliver projects at a national level. Healthy rivers and lakes are critical to a healthy ecosystem and the works and studies supported by the scheme will also benefit the surrounding environment and the restoration of our natural resources.”
Since 2016, Inland Fisheries Ireland has made more than €5 million available through its various funding schemes. Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development with Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Conservation and protection are at the heart of the work we do and ensuring fish species, like Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout get the best chance possible to thrive in our inland waters. The Habitats and Conservation Scheme is made possible through fishing licence income and promotes groups all over the country to be able to work on projects and measures that benefit the conservation of salmon, sea trout and their freshwater habitats.”
Financial assistance under the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund (SSTRCPF total of €1,003,390) is generated by the sale of salmon and sea trout angling licences and commercial fishing licences in Ireland. The Midlands Fisheries Fund (MFF total of €50,000) is financed through contributions from permit income, received through the Midlands Fisheries Group permit area. To be eligible, applicants to the SSTRCPF must have purchased a valid salmon and sea trout angling licence or a commercial fishing licence or for the MFF, hold a current Midlands Fisheries Group permit.
Further allocations of funding may be announced later in the year and the full list of projects can be seen at www.fisheriesireland.ie