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Councillor warns of threat to estuary dolphins

Councillor Ian Lynch has expressed concern over what he says is the continued trawling of the Shannon Estuary, claiming it could have a negative effect on the bottle-nosed dolphin population in the area.

He says he was contacted by members of the public when two trawlers were seen operating on the estuary.

“Trawling the river estuary is not illegal and I appreciate that fishing is an extremely tough industry but the Shannon Estuary is a designated Special Area of Conservation. Pair trawling could have a detrimental effect on the natural ecology of the maritime life,” Councillor Lynch said.

“I am calling on the minister to ban trawling in the Shannon Estuary until a detailed study is carried out on the effects this activity could have on the ecological system. Only when this study is completed, will we truly know if trawling our fish stocks is sustainable. As well as an increased risk of capturing seals or dolphins, if we deplete our fish stocks and ruin the ecological system, it could take decades to recover. This could destroy the natural feeding grounds for the 130 bottle-nose dolphins in the estuary. This is a direct threat to the Shannon Estuary as a sanctuary for such dolphins. We have to ensure that we protect our natural environment even when we cannot see it.

“The natural ecological system is continuously under threat from pollutants from domestic, industrial, farming and plastics wastes. The fact that we continue to pump untreated sewage into the river is still a huge issue, so we must ensure that we protect our maritime environment as much as we can. The knock-on effect could be devastating on the local economy, affecting tourist attractions and businesses such as dolphin-watching and angling in West Clare. The region is known for its sustainable tourism industry around maritime activities, which is important to our local economy,” he maintained.

Peter O’Connell

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