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Fracking Could Put Irish Fish Species at Risk

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Hydraulic fracturing might threaten the future of endangered fish species in Ireland should fracking plans go ahead.


Source: The Irish Times

 


Fishermen came together in Enniskillen, Ireland over the weekend for an anti-fracking protest as they fear the consequences that might come along with fracking the area.


A parade of 50 boats on trailers was pulled through the town as anglers argued that the manner of extracting shale gas could put at risk popular fishing lakes—which includes Lough Erne, Lough Allen, Lough McNean, and Lough Arrow.


Honorary secretary of the Garrison and Lough Melvin Fishing Association, Malcolm Finney, who organized the rally, said a referendum on fracking should be held to coincide with the local elections in Northern Ireland on May 22nd, according to The Irish Times.


“We asked members of all the angling associations to give up the first day of the season to come here. Some of them are in mourning, but we wanted to highlight the importance of this protest,” he said,  in an article from The Irish Times.


Finney highlighted that fact that sonaghan trout is truly unique to Lough Melvin, which runs from Leitrim to Fermanagh. “It’s been here since the Iron Age, but would disappear if fracking goes ahead,” Finney explained, “We have other rare species including Arctic Char which is dying out all over Ireland. We put 200,000 salmon fry into our system over the past six years and we want to protect all that.”


Internationally known for its distinct plants and animals, the lake Lough Melvin has been the assigned as a wildlife conservation area. “We have the highest degree of protection from the EU, but it would only take one accident to destroy the lake if they start to drill,” Finney said.


Shane Gallagher, who is in charge of the Drowes fishery on the Leitrim/Donegal border, is known for turning out the first salmon for the year. Gallagher was one of the at least 150 protesters at the rally.


“We get clients from Germany, Spain, France, the US, even Japan, who come here because we have a reputation for near pristine waters,” Gallagher said, according to The Irish Times,


“Fracking poses a serious threat to that reputation because no drilling company can operate without using chemicals. If we lose our green image it will be bad for tourism and for agriculture, while the visual impact on our countryside cannot be ignored.”







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