MEP Jim Higgins this week expressed his concern that the presence of African Pond Weed in Lough Corrib is leaving Ireland open to large EU fines, unless the situation is rectified soon.
He has received representation from local divers, who were working on behalf of the Western Fisheries Board up until Christmas, to remove Lagorsiphon or African Pond Weed. For the past two and a half years the Western Fisheries Board have been successful in controlling the weed, using an environmentally friendly process, which involves the laying of jute matting which excludes light and prevents the regrowth of the weed.
Speaking in Brussels, MEP Higgins said that due to the public service recruitment embargo, the work has been stalled.
“It is extremely important that this work is allowed to continue, otherwise we face a number of serious risks to the clean supply of drinking water to Galway city and the surrounding towns, as well as the loss of habitat and spawning grounds for our world renowned salmon and trout fisheries due to the aggressive colonisation of the weed"
The fishery is currently seeing a marked increase in pike and other course fish, but not game fish.
"I have written to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabitte on the matter, and this Thursday in Brussels, I will bring the matter up with Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar"
Concluding, MEP Higgins said "I have been working closely with my colleague Sean Kyne on the matter and hope to arrive at a situation where the divers are put back to work as soon as possible, and the possibility of Ireland being hit with hefty EU fines has been removed"