Supporting Local News

Invasive species casts renewed threat for Lough Corrib

Another invader has been found on Lough Corrib – fuelling fears of ecological damage to Galway’s most important water system.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) confirmed its staff discovered a non-native carp on the lake on July 17 during stock management operations. It’s believed to be the first discovery of carp on the Corrib.

In a statement to the Connacht Tribune, IFI said it was “very concerned about the discovery of the invader species, and investigations are ongoing”.

Carp are a non-native species in Ireland and may threaten the ecologically important ecosystem in Lough Corrib, including its recreational fisheries, IFI said.

There was already widespread concern among local trout and salmon anglers about the presence of predatory pike in the Corrib, and other non-native, coarse fish.

They are afraid what might happen if the carp species got a foothold in the lake.

“This invasive carp marks a further introduction of a non-native fish which effects ecology on the Corrib,” said Michael Faherty, chairman of Lough Corrib Angling Federation.

“We would appeal to the people, or person, involved in the introduction of non-native fish to Lough Corrib or other water bodies, to think of the long-term ecological damage that is being done to the environment in a time when we are all well aware of the loss of native species.

“Lakes, no more than the land, have ecosystems which become fragmented when we interfere by introducing non-native weeds, invertebrates and fish,” Mr Faherty said.

IFI said it takes the introduction of fish into its waterways “extremely seriously”.

“IFI does not know at this stage whether this is a one off, or if there is a population of carp becoming established. The significance of the discovery is therefore yet to be defined,” the organisation’s spokesperson said.

Don Stiffe (pcitured), chairman of Ballindiff Bay Angling Club near Headford, said the discovery of carp in the Corrib was worrying.

“They can go to 30, 40 or 50 years old. They can go up to 40 pounds weight. They’re bottom-feeders. It’s not so much they would interfere with spawning beds, but if they get in, they’d interfere with mayfly and insects. They’re not native, they are invasive and effect the ecology and water quality status if they get established,” said Mr Stiffe.

Mr Stiffe said it was ironic that even though they are invasive, carp are protected under byelaws on the Corrib that local anglers are pushing IFI to repeal.

“Why protect an invasive species on an SAC (Special area of Conservation). Would we protect Japanese knotweed in Connemara National Park,” he asked.

Mr Stiffe said only one carp was found but inevitably there are more, as other invaders roam the lake.

“We caught nine tench at Luimnagh in Ballindiff Bay recently. They are a non-native species, too, and they were spawning. These introductions are problematic,” he said.

The musician and environmentalist confirmed two of his club members had caught 72 pike and 30 perch, both non-native predators, over one weekend in July.

“We really are worried about it,” he added.

IFI urged the public to help it combat illegal introduction of invasive species.

“We would appeal to the public to protect our fisheries by not moving fish between watercourses for any reason, and submit any sightings of non-native fish directly to IFI or through our confidential number (0818 34 74 24),” it said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up