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300,000 young eels trapped at dam die

By Linda Stewart

The fish kill at Ballyshannon power station in Co Donegal that claimed hundreds of thousands of young eels is the second in as many years, local anglers have claimed.

Albert Keys, chairmen of Enniskillen Angling Society, said staff in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure told him the same thing happened at the hydroelectric dam last year.

He called for independent monitoring of the eel and fish passes at the Irish power supplier ESB's Cathleen Falls dams to ensure that endangered salmon and eel populations are safeguarded.

It's been reported that more than 300,000 eels were found dead in an eel trap that was designed to help them to migrate through the dams into Lough Erne.

It has been claimed that no-one checked the two traps over the Easter weekend, and when the eel run took place the fish had nowhere to go and died of oxygen starvation.

ESB said an "unfortunate incident" took place over the Easter weekend, resulted in 112kg of juvenile eels being killed.

"It would appear that an exceptional number of elvers entered one trap overnight at the very start of the season, exceeding the trap tank storage capacity with consequent mortalities in the order of 112kgs. Two elver traps were operational at the time," a spokesman said.

"ESB is working with DCAL and IFI in carrying out a full investigation into this incident; trapping protocols are being updated as a result. This investigation is ongoing and a final report will be published in the coming days."

Mr Keys said: "What we need is independent monitoring of this process."

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