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Lampreys- Sea, River and Brook

MulkearLIFE was delighted to be in a position to attend an important illustrated talk last night hosted by National Parks & Wildlife Service, Killarney National Park, at the Plaza Hotel Killarney. Dr. Sean Rooney of Inland Fisheries Ireland, the coordinating beneficiary of the MulkearLIFE project, delivered a high quality presentation about Ireland’s three species of lampreys to a massive crowd. The talk focused on the biology, ecology, life history and conservation of the Irish lampreys (sea lamprey, river lamprey & brook lamprey).

Dr. Sean Rooney, lamprey researcher (Image: Glen Wightman)

Dr. Rooney spent a considerable amount of time during his talk discussing lamprey conservation. MulkearLIFE was delighted when he highlighted the work of MulkearLIFE in assisting migrating sea lamprey over barriers like Annacotty weir. He illustrated the innovative lamprey passes installed by MulkearLIFE on weirs in the lower Mulkear River and how they facilitate lamprey passage. The passes allow sea lamprey to access the entire Mulkear catchment. The lamprey pass consists of interlocking sheets of plastic attached to a stainless steel sub-frame. The entire structure is secured onto the face of the weir with bolts. The plastic sheets or substrata contain large numbers of knobs that reduce the velocity of the water as it flows over the face of the weir. The sea lamprey are therefore attracted to an easier route up the weir where the water velocity is considerably lower and the pegs help the fish gain traction as the move there way slowly up the face of the weir. The MulkearLIFE team is grateful for the publicity of our work and for the assistance of Dr. Rooney in our lamprey tagging and passage monitoring studies.

Lamprey ascends fish pass at Annacotty weir – early morning (Image: R. Ó Conchúir)

Project Officer, Glen Wightman inspects newly installed lamprey pass at Annacotty Weir (Image: R. Ó Conchúir)

The event gave MulkearLIFE an opportunity to network with project co-financers (National Parks and Wildlife Service), project supporters and friends. It was great to see so many people interested in Ireland’s most prehistoric fishes, the lampreys. A lively discussion followed the talk with all participants coming away more knowledgeable about these fascinating creatures. It was a great night out for all concerned and job well done by Dr. Rooney.

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Mulkear LIFE, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Ashbourne Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick, Ireland
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