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Meet Ireland's latest invader: The Asian Clam

A new report says that complete removal of the clam from our waterways is “not feasible”.

First published, Saturday 18 October, 1pm

IrishAnglingUpdate / YouTube

IT MIGHT SOUND like a fancy ingredient for an impressive meal for two, but the Asian Clam has got a fearsome reputation.

Earlier this month, an invasion of the claim prompted an angling ban in Longford, with Inland Fisheries Ireland warning that anglers ” must be aware of the dangers posed to other waters”.

Now a new report into an Asian Clam survey at Lanesborough in Longford has found that “the population of Asian Clam has already reached a stage where complete removal is not feasible”.

The IFI pointed out that the clam can spread on fishing equipment like nets, boats, rods and even clothing.

The Asian clam is one of the world’s most dangerous invasive species, and was first spotted in Ireland in 2010 in the River Barrow in Carlow.

Since then, it has also been seen at the River Nore, Carrick-on-Shannon and Lough Derg.

asian clam The Asian clam Fisheries Ireland report Fisheries Ireland report

Disinfection kits for angling equipment are going to be commissioned in the coming week.

IFI describes the clams as “a real threat to fish stocks”, saying they “have the ability to become highly invasive in a short period of time”.

At high densities, it can alter the food web and compete with native mussel species. Asian clam are known to aggressively out-compete native invertebrate communities, limit phytoplankton biomass, biofoul water intakes, alter benthic habitats, add biologically available nitrogen and phosphorus to systems, and impact aesthetic and recreational values of public beaches, lake front properties and swimming areas.

The relevant agencies  – such as the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Waterways Ireland, ESB, Bord Na Mona, OPW, Roscommon and Longford County Councils, and local community and angling groups, have been briefed on this latest report. Now it’s time for the recommendations and management actions to be considered over the coming weeks.

Much of the concern over the Asian Clam is because angling in Ireland is worth €755m per annum, and up to 10,000 job equivalents, the IFI says.

The report makes a number of recommendations, and says that further studies should be made into the Asian Clam in Ireland. It also says dredging should take place in some areas.

Information literature should be produced to advise all water-based recreational users of the hazards posed by Asian clams and the biosecurity protocols that must be implemented to mininise their spread within the wider catchnment and indeed other catchments.

Read the full report here.

First published, Saturday 18 October, 1pm

Read: Asian Clam invasion prompts Longford angling ban>

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