Report of Meeting re Asian Clam

A report and update on the meeting in relation to the Asian clams as requested by some readers



A meeting took place in St. Mary’s Parish Hall on Monday last where all concerned parties to the Asian clam threat to Lanesboro fishing and the River Shannon attended. The meeting was facilitated by Lanesboro Tourism Co-Op and Seadna Ryan chaired the meeting.


Dr. Joe Caffrey, Senior Research Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland outlined the devastation that the Asian Clam could possibly do if it was not cleared from the area. He show some slides of St. Mullin’s bay on the river Barrow and it was clear to be seen why he wanted the hot water stretch to be cleaned with the greatest urgency. He did say that the affected stretch was a good breeding ground for the clam as the river bed was both sandy and had a gravel base. They have the propensity to spawn all year round in waters of 15°. The lifespan of the clam is said to be one to five years although, he said, he had never seen a five year old. He was of the opinion that most likely the clam was introduced innocently through a fisherman’s keep net.


The impacts are that they will alter the structure and function of the habitat. They will take the nutrients from the water, they will out compete for food resources, they will out compete local mollusc species and accelerate depositions of organic matter and could cause a fish kill. Their presence will have a major impact for fishing and boating in the area. They do create fouling of pipes leading to and from the river and create floods as shells accumulate. They clog up gravels and interfere with spawning.


Dr Joe said that in early 2014 the Inland Fisheries while working on Lough Ree tested at various points to see if there was a presence on the lake and they found nothing. There are different options that could be taken to help eradicate the clams and all the concerned partners were going to stay after the meeting to discuss the methodology in the eradication of the clam from the area.


In an attempt to control the spread of the clams the option to put in benthic barriers, dredge and ensure the safe disposal, bio security, close the fishery, erect signage, have greater local awareness and install disinfection facilities.

Dr Caffrey said “this is a battle I am confident we can win”


In a Q&A that took place it was asked that is no immediate action took place could it get out of control and the answer was a definite yes. That there was no known natural predator. Further screening and surveys will take place in the immediate future and the Inland Fisheries were out testing on both Sunday and Monday last. When the dredging takes place screening would be an option to avid spread and dispersal. The timeline for the work is right now, immediately. Money was not the most important issue but the availability of manpower and the correct equipment was most immediate and superseded the need for money. It is hoped that landfill will become available in the area for the disposal into landfill.


There is a 48 to 72 hour timeline now being set in place to draw up the plan and the community will also have a great responsibility in terms of their own education and the passing on of that education to others. There should not be fishing on the hot water stretch and if you see anyone fishing there you are asked to inform them of the problem and to cease fishing in that area that is clearly marked by signage.


Along with the Lanesboro Tourism Co-Op there were representatives of local community groups, the angling club and the following agencies attended 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 and the EPA.


A further meeting of the agencies will take place on Friday next.

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