15 August 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for salmon stocks on the River Blackwater to be protected as temporary repair works look set to begin on the Fermoy weirs.
Liadh Ní Riada said;
“The River Blackwater is of huge ecological, economic and cultural importance for both East Cork and West Waterford. Like any complex eco-system, a seemingly small change in one part of the river can have a much larger impact on another part.
“There is no doubt that the weirs in Fermoy are in dire need of repair, but any works must take into account the well-being of the whole river, from its source in the Mullaghereirk Mountains all the way to Youghal Bay.
“The River Blackwater is 170km long and has a total catchment area of 3,324km2. It is renowned as one of the Ireland’s best salmon fishing rivers and has won international acclaim amongst anglers. The economic impact of tourism related to angling alone is significant for many family businesses and small employers in West Waterford and East Cork.
“Salmon stocks on the Blackwater have declined over recent years and maintaining clear access for returning salmon to their spawning grounds upstream is one of the first steps in rehabilitating stocks.
“A long-term repair solution for the Fermoy weirs must be funded by Government and it must incorporate a rock ramp pass, or an equally effective route for salmon to travel upstream to reproduce.
“In the meantime any temporary works must take into account the protection and rehabilitation of salmon stocks. I have written to Cork County Council, to the Community Water Officer and to Inland Fisheries Ireland to ensure that this is the case.”