Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Introduction of new eel traps on Lough Erne falls short of overall solution

Published: 8 March, 2015

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that the introduction of redesigned eel traps at the hydro-electric dam on the River Erne to prevent a repeat of last year's massive kill of 300,000 elver falls short of what is required to solve the current problem.

The new system, which is to be used from St Patrick's Day, includes three new traps operated by the ESB at the dam and in the Erne estuary with increased water supply, oxygenation and a new material used inside the traps to make it easier for baby eels to climb in.

Speaking today, Mr Flanagan said:

"I welcome the introduction of these measures as an initial step in terms of dealing with the impact this dam has on the ability of fish and eel to navigate the Erne waterway.

"However, I remain of the opinion that the ESB are not the proper organisation to be dealing with the preservation of fish and eel stocks on Lough Erne. The ESB are solely interesting in generating electricity and revenue. They care little about the fish and eel stocks coming into Lough Erne and developing it as a world class angling attraction.

"The responsibility for managing and protecting such species should be transferred away from the ESB to an organisation dedicated to the preservation of fish and the promotion of angling such as Loughs Agency, which already plays this role in other border areas.

"The potential of Lough Erne is completely under tapped. There needs to be a complete change in how this waterway is managed in order to meet the competing demands of electricity generation and the development of a fishing facility."