Angling disaster fear as weir blocks salmon
THOUSANDS of salmon which survived a journey all the way from Greenland have been blocked at a Co Kilkenny weir, which has been adapted as part of a drainage scheme.
For the past six weeks, salmon have failed to make it upstream past the Lacken Weir outside Kilkenny City, where work has been done as part of the ?48m River Nore Drainage Scheme to reduce the risk of flooding.
Members of Kilkenny Anglers claim the shoot is both too narrow and too high, which makes it impossible for the fish to pass through to their spawning grounds in five tributaries.
If the salmon cannot get through the shoot, then it is feared there will be no fish in three to four years.
The anglers say the situation has deteriorated drastically since last Friday, as the river is low.
Chair of the Anglers Association, Tommy Hynes said: "Very few (salmon) have any chance of getting through."
The fish supply in the river is already low and the association has been advised by marine experts that fishing should be curtailed.
They claim work has to be carried out at the weir within the next fortnight or fish will be depleted and start dying.
John McGuinness TD, Fianna Fail, said: "If the shoot is not altered soon then the fish will start dying and a generation of salmon will be lost."
Mr McGuinness pointed out that there are old shoots and they need to be re-opened to provide some temporary solution.
Junior Marine Minister Pat The Cope Gallagher has been notified of the situation and local people hope that a meeting between interested parties will take place over the coming days.