Posted by: fermoyweir | October 23, 2011

Native fish species listed as threatened or vulnerable

SEÁN Mac CONNELL

SIX OF Ireland’s native fish species and one of its three amphibians have been classified as “threatened” in a scientific report published yesterday.

The new Red List found the European eel species here to be critically endangered while five other native species – pollan, Arctic char, twaite shad, Killarney shad and Atlantic salmon – were deemed to be “vulnerable”.

The new Red Data list of Irish Amphibians, Reptiles and Freshwater Fish also placed the natterjack toad on the endangered species list.

Dr Cathal Gallagher of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The new Red List . . . gives a ‘health-check’ on the status of the species listed. For us who work closely with fish, this document catalogues the status, distribution and threats facing both our native and non-native fish species, it points to outstanding issues that need to be addressed and gives us a time frame for actions.

“This document provides scientists, managers and stakeholders with an analysis which can be used to support our fish populations for the next 10 years. Thanks must go to all who contributed to the development of this updated Red List,” Dr Gallagher added.

The Red List was compiled by scientists from organisations across the island including Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks Wildlife Service, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

It provides a full and objective assessment of Ireland’s amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish, identifying those species most in need of conservation interventions.

It also identifies the major threats to these species so that mitigating measures can be implemented. For the first time, an objective assessment of the status of non-native fish which have become naturalised in Ireland is also provided. Two of the established non-native fish were identified as invasive species in need of management (dace and chub) in the all-island study.

Donna Cassidy of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said the Red Data List identified a number of widespread threats such as water pollution, the spread of invasive species, over-fishing, unsympathetic river management and climate change.

Barriers to upstream migration, such as weirs, were highlighted as being of particular importance to the lampreys and shads, she added.

Dr Ferdia Marnell of National Parks Wildlife Service said: “This is the sixth all-Ireland Red Data list to be published in recent years,” adding that Red Data lists for moths, lichens, bryophytes and seaweeds were also under way.

Irish Times, October 7th 2011

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