A meeting to discuss the discovery of Asian Clams in Lanesboro was held last Friday in the local community centre.
A number of agencies were present and proceedings were chaired by CEO Inland Fisheries Ireland, Dr CiarÃ¡n Byrne.
Those in attendance included representatives from Lanesboro Tourism Co-Op, County Councillors from both Longford and Roscommon, representatives of Longford and Roscommon county councils, Inland Fisheries, ESB, Bord na Mona, National Parks and Wildlife, Waterways Ireland, James Bannon TD and the EPA.
Dr Joe Caffrey and River Basin Director, Amanda Mooney outlined the concerns caused by the discovery of clams in the hot water stretch of the River Shannon.
â€œThe damage that can be done by the clams is horrendous and that is why there is an urgency to a swift response by all other agencies,â€ said Ms Mooney. â€œThe right and proper decision has been taken; that of closing down the fishing and ringing the alarm bells as soon as the clam was discovered. It is now very important to make an assessment of the entire area to see exactly how much, if any, of the clams were in the bay and lake area.â€
The meeting also heard that the hot water stretch area had the vast majority of the clams and because of the swift action that had been taken, â€œthe potential devastation could be erasedâ€.
â€œWith the water emitting being in the region of 24Â° we will need to investigate further as to whether the water temperature could be a cause for the hot water stretch being an ideal spawning ground,â€ added Ms Mooney. â€œThis would all be part of the scientific study that would have to be undertaken to find the correct solution for the eradication of the clams.
However we would expect that there would not be a total eradication, however it is possible that up to 90% of the clams could be taken out with the remainder being subject to ongoing monitoring.â€
The meeting heard it would take a week to carry out a study on the affected area.
â€œIt is very important that the work is done in such a manner not to allow further spread down into the lake and other river tributaries,â€ added Dr Caffrey. â€œDisinfection stations would be set up along the fishing area so that when fishing resumes there would be a pre and after disinfection programme in place.
â€œThe biosecurity measures will ensure fishing into the future. The ownership of this problem is belonging to everyone. We must ensure that there is no fishing taking place on this stretch during the close down period so as to avoid the further spread through equipment and gear to other rivers and lakes.â€