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Survey reveals that Corrib fish is now extinct

Dara Bradley



Arctic char...extinct.

Arctic char, a fresh water fish, has become extinct on Lough Corrib, a new survey reveals.

The species of fish, which is related to salmon and trout, is no longer present at the Galway lake, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Char historically used to be prevalent in Lough Corrib but it hasn’t been detected there in the latest IFI survey, or in the previous one conducted four years ago.

The deterioration in water quality in the Corrib could be a factor, according to the report, Sampling Fish for the Water Framework Directive, which outlines the current ecological status of fish stocks in each water body.

The report said although historically present at Lough Corrib no char specimens were captured there or at four other Irish lakes (Lough Allua, Lough Easky, Lough Egish, Lough Owel) in 2011 or 2014.

This suggests, “the local extinction of the species in these lakes”, the report said.

The report added: “A number of char populations have become extinct over the last 30 years and this has been attributed mainly to deterioration in water quality or acidification. The absence of native species such as trout, salmon and char within specific catchments is related to various factors, including deterioration in water quality, the presence of impoundments preventing fish passage, drainage and modification of river morphology, habitat deterioration and translocation and competition from non-native species.”

The report, published last week, was compiled after 26 lakes across Ireland were surveyed between June and October 2014.

Although Arctic char was no longer present, there was a rich diversity of fish species recorded in Lough Corrib. “Fish species richness (excluding hybrids) ranged from three species on Glenbeg Lough, Cork, Kiltooris Lough, Donegal, Lough Barra, Donegal and Lough Easky, Sligo to a maximum of ten species on Lower Lough Corrib, Galway,” it noted.

This included five native species and five non-native species on Lower Lough Corrib. Meanwhile, there were eight species present on Lough Corrib Upper, including four natives and four non-natives.

Juvenile salmon were recorded in nine lakes, including Lough Corrib Upper and adult salmon was recorded at eight lakes, including Lough Corrib Upper and Lough Corrib Lower.

The highest abundance and the highest biomass of eels amongst all lakes surveyed during 2014 were recorded in Upper Lough Corrib, according to the report.

Nationally, of the 26 lakes surveyed, some 19 fish species and two types of hybrids were identified. A total of 12, 205 fish were recorded.

“Eel was the most common fish species recorded (96 per cent of lakes surveyed) followed by brown trout (81 per cent), perch (65 per cent), roach (42 per cent) and pike (38 per cent). In general, salmon, brown trout, sea trout and Arctic char were the dominant species in the north, west and south-west of the country,” it said.

Dr. Cathal Gallagher, IFI head of research and development, said: “This work provides information on the ecological status of fish species present in selected water bodies as well as information on their abundance, growth and population demographics for fishery managers, legislators, angling clubs, fishery owners and other interested parties”.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of IFI, said: “The information captured in the report gives us an increased understanding of the dynamics and changes in our fish populations at sample locations throughout Ireland.”


Galway City Council turns down Mad Yolk Farm site

Dara Bradley



An application to retain farming-related development on a site in Roscam has been turned down by Galway City Council.

The local authority has refused to grant retention permission to applicant Brian Dilleen for subsurface piping to be used for agricultural irrigation at ‘Mad Yolk Farm’ on Rosshill Road.

It also refused permission for the retention of a bore-hole well, water pump and concrete plinth; and two water holding tanks for 6,500 litres; and other associated site works.

In its written decision, the Planning Department at City Hall said: “The proposed development, would if permitted, facilitate the use of the site for the provision of sixty 15.5m high seed beds, which have been deemed by the planning authority not to be exempted development.

“Therefore a grant of permission for the proposed development would facilitate the unauthorised development and usage on the site, contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The site has been the subject of enforcement action by the local authority.

A lengthy Appropriate Assessment Screening report, submitted with the planning application, concluded “beyond reasonable scientific doubt, in view of the best scientific knowledge, on the basis of objective information and in light of the conservation objectives of the relevant European sites, that the proposed retention and development, individually or in combination with other plans and projects, has not and will not have a significant effect on any European site”.

A borehole Impact Assessment Report concluded that the proposed retention development “on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer is considered negligible”.

It said that there was “no potential for significant effects on water quality, groundwater dependent habitats or species associated with any European site”.

Six objections were lodged by neighbours, including one from the Roshill/Roscam Residents Association, which argued the Further Information submitted by the applicant did “little to allay our concerns” about the impact of the development on an “extremely sensitive site”.

The applicant has until June 29 to appeal the decision to An Bórd Pleanála.

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NUIG student accommodation firm records loss

Enda Cunningham



The property company which operates student accommodation on behalf of NUI Galway recorded a €3.4 million increase in turnover in 2019.

However, Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company), which is owned by the university, recorded a loss for the year of €6,300.

Accounts for the company for the year ended August 31, 2019, show that while there was a loss, retained profits are at more than €1.6 million. The accounts are the most up to date available from the Companies Registration Office.

The previous year, the company made a profit of more than €460,000.

Atalia Student Residences operates the 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex and the 429-bed Goldcrest Village.

The figures show that the company’s overall turnover jumped by 52% – from €6.4m to €9.8m.

Turnover for accommodation services was up from €5.2m to €8.4m; and from conferences and events was up from €850,000 to €1.1m. Turnover from shops was down from almost €328,000 to €290,000.

Outside of the academic year, both complexes are used as accommodation for conference delegates, while Corrib Village is also used for short-term holiday lets.

The accounts show fixed assets – including fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery and office equipment – valued at €1.5m. Its current assets were valued at more than €7m, including ‘cash at bank and in hand’ of almost €6.9m (up from €5.6m last year).

The company owed creditors €6.9m, including €5.2m in deferred income.

It employed 38 people (which includes its five directors) last year, up from 31 the previous year.

As well as operating the student accommodation complexes, the company also markets conference facilities and services on behalf of the university.

It pays rent to NUIG but the figure is not included in the company accounts. In 2018, the rent figure was just over €2.25m.

In Corrib Village, a single bedroom with a private en suite for the academic year costs €5,950. For Goldcrest Village, the figure is €6,760.

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Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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