Independent MEP Marian Harkin has slammed the country’s government departments and state agencies for their failure to designate a responsible body to tackle the problem of the Asian Clam infestation of the Shannon at Lanesborough.
Speaking at a public meeting in Lanesborough on Thursday, February 11th she said that following the meeting she had organised in Brussels on the previous Tuesday for a deputation from the Lough Ree Angling Hub it had been clearly established that the National Parks and Wildlife section of the Department of Arts, heritage & Gaeltacht were the body responsible for tackling the Asian Clams problem.
Marian Harkin pointed out that the European Commission had emphasised that tackling the problem of an invasive species was a matter for member states.
She said that the detection of Asian Clams in Lough Ree, and their ability to spread, indicated the threat to fish life which was vital to attracting anglers and associated tourism earnings to the area. Course fishing was a most valuable resource and needed, and deserved, necessary support from the State, she emphasised.
Methods for tackling the removal of Asian Clams, especially from the warm water stretch at Lanesborough, had been established and it was up to the responsible authority to tackle the job, she said. This would probably involve an Environment Impact Assessment, she stressed, and it was essential for responsibility to be taken by a management authority before the spread of the Asian Clams caused further damage to fish life and to the endangered species the Pollan.