OVER 300,000 critically endangered eels have died in a trap that was supposed to help their migration past a dam at Cathleen’s Falls, Ballyshannon.
Traps operated by the ESB are supposed to assist the eels' migration around the hydroelectric power station.
ESB said an “unfortunate incident” took place over the Easter weekend that resulted in 112kg of juvenile eels, called elvers, being killed. Numbers of juvenile eels have increased in recent years
It is understood no-one was checking the two traps at Cathleen’s Falls over the holiday weekend when there was a major run of eels up the River Erne.
When the traps became full, the eels had nowhere to go and it is thought that the elvers were starved of oxygen and died.
ESB said it was working with the Northern Ireland Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in carrying out a full investigation into the incident. It said trapping protocols were being updated.
ESB said despite the incident at Ballyshannon, as of May 7, 461kg of live healthy elvers have been trapped at the station and successfully moved north into Lough Erne in conjunction with DCAL.
ESB said this represented a significant increase on previous elver runs and so the trapping operations by ESB and DCAL would continue as required.
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