Ardnacrusha fish pass never worked

This newspaper cutting from July 1962 claimed that the new fish pass at Ardnacrusha – which had just been installed – was a success. Of course we now all know that this pass did not solve the fish passage problems, and indeed has been a failure. None of the mitigation provided for the Shannon scheme has worked. There is a long history of covering this up with PR spin however.

Salmon runs on the River Shannon have long collapsed with the river currently meeting <5% of its annual conservation escapement target. This is lowest level of any river in Ireland and is all down to the impact of the ESB hydroelectric scheme. Even though it is now 2020 we still don’t have any fish pass to allow salmon smolts, kelts and silver eels to pass downstream. We also have no effective upstream fish pass – with upstream passage for salmon at Parteen Regulating Weir also blocked to allow ESB to continue to collect broodstock for their failed hatchery programme.

Ardnacrusha fish pass

The traditional eel and salmon fisheries are gone – for the last few years you have not even allowed to fish ‘catch and release’ for salmon on the River Shannon. The eel is now a critically endangered species – yet the ESB allow thousands to be killed in the turbine here each year. The the upstream migration of elvers also blocked with elver traps regularly not operated. However in terms of hydroelectric generation it is business as usual – the ESB continue to operate Ardnacrusha hydroelectric station in the exact same way as they did in the 1930’s! There is no compliance with the Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive. Yet instead of sorting the problems it is being proposed to impose a major new water abstraction to Dublin down on top of this.

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