We need to change the management of Parteen fish pass

We want the fish pass at Parteen weir to be opened immediately and left open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Passage of ‘wild’ fish upstream has to be given absolute priority over brood stock collection. This has to be done immediately and would cost nothing. We have argued this previously here.

We will never have a self-sustaining run of salmon in the Shannon with this kind of management

We have this ridiculous situation where we have a reasonably good fish pass at Parteen which is kept closed until September – because it is less work for ESB staff and they don’t have to look after brood stock for more than a couple of months. From September onwards the fish pass remains blocked but the entrance to the outflow from the raceway is opened. Salmon are forced to enter into a small pipe which leads to a raceway where they are held. Salmon don’t like this, and many almost certainly turn back. The ones that enter this pipe and end up in the raceway get stressed. They can be seen bashing themselves off the walls and inlet pipe trying to get out again. They are then subjected to excessive handing, with “wild” fish trucked upstream.  Hatchery fish also try to get out of the raceway, suffer injuries and often contract diseases.  The wild fish are held in the same raceway so can also acquire infections. Many of the wild salmon are from the Mulkear or Lower River Shannon and just overshot their destination and are subjected to this treatment. These fish along with the kelts then die in front of the Shannon dams. We will never have a self-sustaining run of salmon in the Shannon with this kind of management.

Salmon that enter the raceway become stressed and try to jump out of the pipe at the head of the spillway. This is no way to treat “wild” salmon destined for the middle and upper Shannon. Many of these fish are actually from the Lower River Shannon SAC but are trucked upstream after handling and then can’t get back down and die in front of the Shannon dams.
This is no way to treat a recovering salmon population. But the pipe into the raceway is closed until September with no way upstream whatsoever.
We will never have a self-sustaining run of salmon in the Shannon with this kind of management
salmon trapped at parteen
The ‘wild’ salmon which are trucked upstream then die – along with the kelts – in front of the Shannon dams. We will never have a self sustaining run of salmon in the Shannon with this kind of management.
Parteen weir, River Shannon
Many salmon never find the fish pass anyway as they are attracted to the spillway instead. But there is no way upstream whatsoever for salmon migrating during the spring and summer.

The ESB’s River Shannon Salmon Management Programme have been an abject failure – by any analysis. There are now less salmon passing though Killaloe on the River Shannon than through the industrialised River Seine in Paris – some 250 km inland on one of Europe’s most polluted and modified rivers and above a major hydroelectric scheme. This is a startling example of the failure of fisheries management programmes on the River Shannon, and highlights the need for real change.

It is a national disgrace that salmon escapement through the Shannon dams has fallen so low

For further reading see these post.

It is a national disgrace that salmon escapement through the Shannon dams has fallen so low – less than 1,000 last year on a river with a conservation escapement target of 45,000 per annum. This is especially poignant when measured by successes on other European Rivers with many more problems than the River Shannon. There can and should be salmon in the upper Shannon. A change in the management of the fish pass at Parteen weir would be a first step towards this and this can be done tomorrow with no cost involved.

  • NoteESB claim in their 2013 annual report that “The adult salmon trap [at Parteen weir is now] operated [from] the period 17th October to the 2nd of January with free passage allowed for all fish before and after this period”. This change is likely to responsible for the increase in the salmon run from less than 200 fish in 2009 to over 1600 wild and hatchery fish in 2013. We would like to see this being independently verified, as they have also made claims about the operation of elvers traps which we have shown to be false. The ESB will also need to explain why no salmon passed upstream at Ardnacrusha in 2010 (obviously the fish lift was not operated) and why in 2008 and 2009 that the run for the Shannon went so low (only a couple of hundred fish) – from graph in their 2013 annual report. 

5 Thoughts

  1. As an angler I am totally disgusted with what is happening on the Shannon .I think its about time all the rivers of Ireland were unblocked to allow the Atlantic Salmon a free run up our rivers to spawn . Remove commercial fishing from all rivers ,and provide proper fish passes and protection.The Atlantic salmon is in mortal danger of extinction In this country from fish farm pollution and sea lice infestation caused by these same farms .Its about time the Government came out of their slumber and take some action to help and maintain the preservation of the wild Atlantic Salmon for the generations to come.

  2. This is ridiculous they should open the pass straight I’ve actually seen fish trapped in there and turning back because they don’t know to get through the pass . Plus it might stop the poaching

    1. One other thing they esb stopped all eelfry fishing but it was them that raped or rivers for export. Now there telling us we can’t fish the fry that they robbed and sent to Europe . Don’t get me started on these there isn’t an eel left in our rivers because of greed

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