4 December 2015
By Elaine Murphy
All interested parties from NGOs, environmental groups, land owners and local councilors need to come together to discuss the best way to protect our river systems and its species while also allowing the surrounding lands to be put to best use for potential development, tourism and economic development.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has met with officials from the European Commission in relation to the protection of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel and development along the Blackwater Valley in Cork.
“I was clear and unequivocal to the officials from the Commission. There is a need to strike a balance between the protection of the Pearl Water Mussels in our freshwater rivers and streams in Cork but not to the detriment of our communities when it comes to sustainable development, business and tourism activities.
“There is room for sustainable development along the Blackwater Valley. The Communities that live in that area need a habitat, in the same way as the Pearl Mussels need a habitat. The community needs to create jobs, homes and business. There is no reason why development should be completely stalled and red tape and over regulation should not stand in the way of communities who want to develop their communities in a sustainable fashion.
“We need a strong action plan in place to protect the future of the Freshwater Pearl Mussels. The Freshwater Pearl Mussel can live for over 100 years. They are found in clean, fast-flowing, soft-water rivers and streams that are low in nutrients and they require the highest levels of water quality in order to mature to adulthood and to successfully reproduce. Despite a decline in Ireland over the past century, mature Freshwater Pearl Mussels are still widespread around the country, however there has been a decrease in the number of younger Freshwater Pearl Mussels due to unsuitable water conditions.