Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (270)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

270. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of the survey of the pearl mussel which is found in the Munster Blackwater. [8124/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Freshwater Pearl Mussel is critically endangered in Ireland and the EU. It is very sensitive to water quality and to land use management that may impact on the rivers in which it lives, including the Munster Blackwater.

The Munster Blackwater is a deep, dark and fast-flowing river, and is difficult to survey for these reasons. Data on the status of the Mussel in the Blackwater, including its current distribution and abundance, is incomplete. However some recent surveys of parts of the river found more mussels than were previously known in the main channel of the river.

It is agreed that significant further work is required. The necessary survey work would likely require 2 years to complete, given the need for a period of reasonable weather to arrive at suitable river conditions for survey work to succeed. It will require additional expert resources in my Department to commission survey work, and possibly to work in collaboration with other interested parties; and this requirement is being addressed at this time.