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World Fish Migration Day – A Great Success

The two events hosted by MulkearLIFE / Inland Fisheries to mark World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) on Saturday last (24 May 2014) were a great success. The events were part of a one day global initiative, with almost 300 events worldwide, to create awareness of the importance of migratory fish. WFMD is held to improve the publics’ understanding of the importance of open rivers and migratory fish and their needs. The ability of fish to freely migrate is crucial to achieve healthy fish stocks.

Atlantic Salmon - Migration Journey May 2014

Atlantic Salmon migration for World Fish Migration Day (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The events on the Mulkear River were designed to highlight the importance of fish migration to take advantage of the full extent of the Mulkear catchment. The events in particular highlighted the importance of Atlantic Salmon and Sea Lamprey migration and the two events took place on the first man-made barrier to the upward migration of these species on the Mulkear River, namely Annacotty weir.

Atlantic Salmon 5 - Migration Journey May 2014

A helping hand for Bradán Mór for WFMD (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The massive Atlantic Salmon, appropriately namely Bradán Mór, got a little bit of help on his migratory journey on Friday night from the sea to Annacotty on the Mulkear River.  Bradán Mór then formed the centre piece of the day’s activities in Annacotty and was greatly admired for his efforts to turn up for World Fish Migration Day by young and old.

WFMD 20 Sign - 12 Midday

Bradán Mór makes the journey to Annacotty for WFMD (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The day started off early, with the first event kicking off at 6am. It was hoped that the early start would allow for a live demonstration of Sea Lamprey successfully ascending Annacotty weir but this was not to be the case. While a small group of hardy souls turned up to view the event, unfortunately the sea lamprey decided it was a bit too cold for them to put in a performance. Having just arrived into the Mulkear River in the last week, several sea lamprey and one sea lamprey redd were noted below Annacotty weir. Regrettably, water levels were too high for members of the general public to venture out onto the weir and river conditions did not allow for good viewing.

WFMD 2 - 6am

A 6 am start to view sea lamprey ascend Annacotty Weir (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The second event at 12 mid-day was a great success. Despite persistent light rain and the poor weather, a large group of enthusiastic fish migration followers, turned up and a great day was hand by all.  The mid-day event had a particular emphasis on children and helping them to enhance their understanding of the importance of fish migration and healthy river ecosystems. The children did not disappoint. Their knowledge and enthusiasm was a source of great joy to MulkearLIFE and our colleagues in Inland Fisheries Ireland. The event highlighted the work of MulkearLIFE and our project partners to improve sea lamprey passage at barriers on the Lower Mulkear River and work to improve habitat for migratory Atlantic Salmon throughout the Mulkear system.

WFMD 5 - 12 Midday

Large crowd turned up for World Fish Migration Day (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The event was an overwhelming success and included family fun events, face painting, a quiz, fish costumes and prizes for all. The event included live fish demonstrations of the various life stages of the Atlantic Salmon.

WFMD 13 Jane Ell brushes - 12 Midday

Jane Gilleran, Fisheries Officer IFI, explains WFMD (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

The day include a discussion on the fascinating and wonderful life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon and the various barriers its meets on its return  journey within Irish rivers.

WFMD 8 Salmon in tank - 12 Midday

Don’t forget us – fish on display for WFMD (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

Children got to see juvenile salmon close up and learnt best practice in terms of handling fish under the careful guidance of IFI Fisheries Officer Jane Gilleran.

WFMD 7 Jane - 12 Midday

Jane Gilleran, outlines the life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

WFMD 10 Many hands on salmon - 12 Midday

Many hands make light work (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

Also included in the event was a discussion of fish migration in a global context. The extent to which man is impacting on free fish movement via the construction of various barriers to fish migration and in turn how this is impacting on healthy fish populations was outlined. In an Irish context, the extent of historical barriers on Irish River systems, including the Mulkear River and catchment, was discussed.

WFMD 14 Dave - 12 Midday

Dave Germaine outlines the importance of free fish passage (Image: RÓC)

And then there was the fun and games traditionally associated with events hosted by MulkearLIFE in the catchment over the past five years. This included face-painting, the ‘Big Quiz’ and dressing up in fishy costumes.

WFMD 16 Facepainting - 12 Midday

Face painting for World Fish Migration Day (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

A great many children and some adults took advantage of the opportunity to get their face painted – with at least one adult deciding that a sea lamprey would look well on her face. The best dressed fish costume, went to Nora the Migratory Jelly Fish, who crossed over from the Banner County to Annacotty.

WFMD 19 Nora Jellyfish from Ennis - 12 Midday

Nora, the migratory jellyfish, who turned up for WFMD (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

 

WFMD 21 Mural - 12 Midday

The Big Quiz took place under the MulkearLIFE mural (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

MulkearLIFE would like to sincerely thank all who turned up to make World Fish Migration Day on the Mulkear River such a great success despite the poor weather. In addition, MulkearLIFE would like to thank all who helped out on the day, including our colleagues in IFI, the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers,  Joanna McAuliffe for the face painting, Annacotty Tidy Towns, the Mill Bar for the use of the car park and most of all to Peter for the loan of the magnificent Bradán Mór.
 Atlantic Salmon 2 - Migration Journey May 2014

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Mulkear LIFE, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Ashbourne Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)61 300 238   Email: limerick@fisheriesireland.ie