The European Eel population is highly endangered and conservation of this species is a priority for Minister Fergus O’Dowd who recently visited one of the ESB Trap and Transport sites in Coosan, Athlone, Co. Westmeath on Thursday 15th November. The Minister saw first-hand the Silver Eel operation that involves the capture of Silver Eel at strategic locations upstream in theShannon catchment and their subsequent release downstream of Parteen Weir in order to aid their passage and bypass the hydropower generating facility.

Minister O'Dowd assists with eels

Minister O’Dowd assisted the fishermen, Brian and Brendan Connell, in the weighing of the Silver Eels and loading them into an oxygenated tank for transportation by the ESB to Parteen. “Eels are protected under EU Directives ” stated Minister o Dowd, “ I am satisfied that Ireland is addressing its obligations under the Directive by ensuring the safe passage of eels past Parteen Weir as they travel onward to the Saragossa Sea to spawn.  I value highly the work done by ESB on the trap and transport Initiative and the co-operation with IFI.  I saw at first hand how ESB, as a major commercial State company, continues to take very seriously its responsibilities in this area”

Brian Connell, Denis Maher and Minister Fergus O'Dowd with Silver eel on November 12th

The National and River Basin District Eel Management Plans specify actions that include: closure of eel fisheries and markets, mitigation of adverse effects of hydropower generation facilities, improvement of water quality and bio-security issues. The overall objective is to increase the biomass of spawning eel leaving Irish waters as the stock has depleted to a dangerous level.

Inland Fisheries Ireland monitors this ESB sponsored operation throughout its duration checking weigh and condition of the fish.

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Notes to Editor

Inland Fisheries Irelandis a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. IFI will promote, support, facilitate and advise the Minister on, the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling and develop and advise the Minister on policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling.