The Erne Salmon - A Damning Report
In 1995 the Erne Salmon Management Programme was launched to
address the problem of low salmon runs in the Erne watershed.
Funding for the programme to the amount of 2,250,000 euros was
provided by the European Union.
A copy of the 2001 report on the programme is a damning indictment
of the failure of those in charge to achieve the principal aim
of the whole project, namely, "to re-introduce a self-sustaining
population of salmon to the Erne system and through this establish
a high quality rod fishery."
The statistics given in the preceding item "The Erne Salmon
(1)-A Lesson from America", bear this out.
The 2001 report, edited by R.G. Mathers and K. Crowley, was prepared
by a team of Irish scientists.
Its conclusions and recommendations make telling reading.
Recommendation No. 4 in the Executive Summary states:
"A thorough review of upstream and downstream passage
facilities at both hydro stations should be urgently undertaken...with
a view to understanding and rectifying the problems identified
in this report."
This is what local anglers have been urging. They identified
the fish pass problems years ago. The scientists are only now
awakening to the need for what they term "a review".
The scientists also state in their report:
"In summer, high mortalities of adult fish have been observed
in the pass and tailrace with up to 50% of the annual run being
affected in some years."
This is what local anglers have observed previously. Only now
are their observations being taken seriously by the scientists.
On its final page, p.13, the Summary Report bluntly admits:
"The original programme objective of establishing a rod
fishery has not been addressed."
As expressed in plainer terms by a correspondent:
"What scope exists for a rod fishery, either on the surgical
stump of a tailrace or currentless Assaroe Lake, is a question
still to be answered."
For the record, eight cross-border partners are identified in
the report, seven of which are the Northern Regional Fisheries
Board, Ballyshannon; the Dept. of the Marine and Natural Resources;
the Marine Institute; University College Galway; and within Stormont's
jurisdiction the Dept. of Culture, Arts Leisure; the Dept. of
Agriculture, and the FCB (Fisheries Conservation Board).
The eighth partner is the E.S.B., the Electricity Supply Board,
charged with responsibility for ownership and operation of the
fish pass at Cathleen's Falls, widely suspected to be a major
contributor to the decline in the natural wild salmon stock.
The European Union has spent two and a quarter million euros
over six years on the salmon management programme. Will the 2001
report produce early action to save the salmon, or just lead to
more studies and more reports, until the wild salmon of the Erne
are an extinct species? The public have a right to know.
| Canadian Vindicator