Kyne Commits funding for continued removal of Waterweed from Lough Corrib

Inland Fisheries Ireland commences new Research Project into the invasive plant

Thursday, 20th September 2018: Sean Kyne TD,  Minister with responsibility for the Inland Fisheries sector today committed  funding of €300,000 for 2019 to ensure Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) successful operations involving extensive removal of the invasive waterweed, Lagarosiphon Major (L.major), at Lough Corrib, Co. Galway, continue.   Minister Kyne also asked Inland Fisheries Ireland and his Department to continue liaison with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), who have responsibility for the legislation covering Alien Invasive Species (AIS), and in particular liaison as regards species impacting on fisheries

Speaking as he visited Inland Fisheries Ireland’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships, Minister Kyne said: “The management of the curly-leaved waterweed took place on Lough Corrib from January – July 2018 with a view to protecting this important angling resource and I am committing significant funding to Inland Fisheries Ireland for 2019 for this initiative. I also welcome the new Inland Fisheries Ireland research project commenced recently which will see scientists survey the distribution of the plant on the Lough. I want to encourage liaison between Inland Fisheries Ireland and National Parks and Wildlife Service and other bodies on the issue of aquatic AIS so that a multi-agency approach can be brought to bear on the challenges involved” he added.

As part of the battle against L.major, Inland Fisheries Ireland cut and removed the weed across 7.3 hectares (73,500m2) of the Lough over a five month period this year in four sites which contained dense strands. These sites included Barrusheen Bay, Corrib View Bay, Drumsnauv Bay and Farnaught Bay.

In addition, 21.3ha (21, 320m2) of L.major was covered using the light excluding jute treatment method between May and July. The areas targeted included Cornamona Bay, School House Bay, Farnaught, Corrib View Bay, Bob’s Island, The Needles and Ballynalty Bay.  Finally, an area of 250m2 was eradicated using the hand picking method across Farnaught, Cornamona Bay, Corrib View Bay, Bob’s Island and The Needles.

The ongoing weed management operations carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland has prevented the choking of bays by the weed which has occurred in the past. The management operations of L.major in Lough Corrib are supported annually by Galway Country Council and the Office of Public Works. 

In addition to the management operations, Inland Fisheries Ireland commenced a research project last month which aims to establish the current distribution of L.major in Lough Corrib. New innovative methods are being trialled to survey the aquatic plant as part of this research. These include unmanned aerial drones, sub-aquatic remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) and modern remote sensing techniques.

Physical and environmental factors will also be reviewed at sites on the lake each month to determine the influence of habitat and other factors on the distribution of the plant. The findings of the project will help inform policy on future control operations of the invasive plant in the future.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland and is of major conservation importance. It is a nationally important angling resource and as Lagarosiphon major has the potential to compromise the environmental, social and economic value of this unique resource, it is important that the appropriate control measures are put in place. Inland Fisheries Ireland welcomes the Minister’s commitment of funding for this programme”

Our staff have delivered a significant management programme for this invasive weed. The efficacy of the control measure implemented will now be evaluated by monitoring the natural recovery of the habitat and post-control assessment will continue. We also look forward to completing the L.major research project next year which will provide useful information to help its control.”

For more information about Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie .

ENDS

Rinnerroon, Co. Galway before L.major operations
Rinnerroon, Co.Galway after L.major operations

 

For more information:
Órla Sheils
Communications Manager
Inland Fisheries Ireland
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T: 01 8848673
 

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.

About Lagarosiphon major

  • Lagarosiphon major is a submerged canopy-forming weed occurring in lakes, ponds and slow-moving watercourses.
  • It has curly leaves which are arranged spirally along the stem, which is hollow and fragile.
  • L.major is native to southern Africa and was introduced to Ireland by the horticulture industry as an oxygenating plant for use in artificial watercourses.
  • The plant is currently present in garden ponds, aquatic features on golf course and in artificial lakes at many locations throughout the country.
  • It was first recorded in a natural aquatic habitat in Ireland in 2005 when its presence was confirmed in a large sheltered bay on upper Lough Corrib.