Salmon counters – unnecessary eel migration barriers?

Instead of opening up migration pathways for eels (and lampreys) in Ireland, our state agency Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are, themselves, a major threat to eel and lamprey populations. In 2013 IFI installed this crump weir on the lower reaches of the River Maigue, Co Limerick. They knew at the time that this would be a barrier to eels and lampreys, and provided the following false statement on their website: “There is also provision for passage of lamprey and elvers on either side of the weir along either side of the river“. (see : http://mulkearlife.com/mulkearlife-visits-new-fish-counter-on-the-maigue-river/). However, there is no such provision.

Maigue-counter-1
Crump weir and salmon counter installed on the River Maigue, Co Limerick, in 2013 by Inland Fisheries Ireland.
No-elver-pass
There are no eel or lamprey passes provided at the sides of this weir – as claimed on the Mulkear LIFE website.
electrodes
Electrodes are covered with algae – this counter site produces no data and none is available.
No-camera
Cameras are also missing so it is clear that this crump weir only blocks the migration of eels and lampreys and could not provide any data.

This new barrier to migration also does not count salmon. No counts from this site are available and, with reference to algae covered electrodes and missing cameras, it is highly unlikely that this weir achieves anything apart from blocking the upstream migration of European eels, River Lampreys and Brook lampreys. We have raised this issue before in relation to a similar counter on the River Maine. For further information please see the following links:

River Maine
IFI’s fish counter on the River Maine, Co Kerry. No evidence that this weir produces data. It definitely blocks the migrations of elvers and river lampreys in this river. Why are IFI putting these concrete migration barriers into our rivers?

The problem as we see it is that “fisheries” and protecting the ecology and biodiversity of rivers are quite different things, and Inland Fisheries Ireland – as an agency – falls well short in providing the level of protection needed for Ireland’s rivers. Even if these counters produced data on salmon runs, setting targets for killing an annex II listed fish species is hardly conservation.