Statement of Agency Meeting, Asian Clam, Lanesboro. Friday 19th September.
Inland Fisheries Ireland are working closely with all the relevant agencies, NPWS, Waterways Ireland, ESB, Bord Na Mona, OPW, Roscommon and Longford County Councils and the local community and angling groups to put immediate measures in place to re-open the Lanesboro fishery to angling.
Disinfection stations will be provided by Inland Fisheries Ireland, funded by the ESB, and managed within the local community over the next two weeks. This will, combined with a responsible attitude by all water users, facilitate the resumption of angling activity in the community.
The agencies unanimously agreed that a detailed scientific survey will be carried out within the next 7-10 days. This will accumulate quantitative data and the extent of the distribution of this invasive species to augment the knowledge from the preliminary assessments.
There was an immediate commitment by the agencies to contribute to this survey cost and operational requirements.
The outcome of this detailed survey will inform decisions on the collaborative actions required for the medium and long term interventions and strategies.
Continued awareness and responsible behaviour by all water users is paramount to ensuring the work of the agencies involved has the best chance for success and the prevention of any further spread.
In that regards all of the agencies appeal to the respective stakeholders to continue to observe bio-security measures, seek advice on any planned activity and assist in the efforts to manage a very difficult situation.
An earlier meeting of the wider stakeholder groups was facilitated by IFI at the request of the local community group and the agencies commitment to work together was outlined at that stage.
Inland Fisheries Ireland would also like to advise water users that they can report a sighting of any invasive species to the 24 hour hotline on 1890 34 74 24.
Asian Clam invasive species found in Longford – Angling prohibited until further notice !(13/09/14)
Inland Fisheries Ireland has prohibited angling at the ‘hotwater’ stretch in Lanesborough, Co. Longford. This emergency response it due to the confirmation of the presence of Asian Clam, Corbilcula fluminea, downstream of the ESB powerplant at the top of Lough Ree. Inland Fisheries Ireland has deployed a rapid response team to erect signs in the location prohibiting angling on this fishery until further notice.
Anglers must be aware of the dangers posed to other waters. Asian clam can spread on fishing equipment such as keep nets, landing nets, boats, rods and clothing. A decision has been made to close this section of the fishery as a temporary measure to avoid the accidental spread of Asian Clam to other waters. The fishery will reopen at the earliest opportunity once bio-security measures for anglers can be introduced. These measures will include disinfection facilities for all angling equipment.
Inland Fisheries Ireland officers received a report this morning, Thursday 11th September 2014, and responded immediately to the popular fishing area. Dr. Joe Caffrey, a Senior Research Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland, attended the location also and confirmed the presence of the invasive species this afternoon. An initial assessment further downstream did not show signs of a presence of the invasive. A full assessment will be carried out and a meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday 15th September between the relevant agencies to agree the next steps, to ensure that there no further spread towards Lough Ree occurs.
Like the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), Asian Clam has the ability to become highly invasive in a short period of time and at high densities it can alter the food web and compete with native mussel species. Asian clam are known to aggressively out compete native invertebrate communities, limit phytoplankton biomass, biofoul water intakes, alter benthic habitats, add biologically available nitrogen and phosphorus to systems, and impact aesthetic and recreational values of public beaches, lake front properties and swimming areas. Their high rates of filtration, metabolism, reproduction, tolerance to wide ranges of habitats, and juvenile dispersal allows Asian clam to aggressively expand ranges and to rapidly reinvade areas; limiting management, reducing restoration efforts and impacting native benthic communities. Asian clam are capable of both filter feeding (feeding from the water) and pedal feeding (feeding directly from the sediment).
A fish stock survey carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland on Lough Ree in March 2014 also included grab sampling for the Asian Clam invasive in 200 sites over the entire lake. No Asian Clam was found at that time.
Amanda Mooney, Director for the Shannon River Basin District of Inland Fisheries Ireland, stated “It is a tremendous shock to discover that this aggressive alien invasive species is present and established in this popular fishery. Inland Fisheries Ireland is responding to this serious development and anglers and other water users are encouraged to report any siting of this or other invasive species to our 24 Hour confidential hotline : 1890 34 74 24 or use the IFI Invasive Species App’.