ANGLERS and sports clubs on the River Blackwater held a protest in Fermoy to raise concerns about damage to a much-loved salmon weir.
Protestors from more than 10 clubs on the Blackwater have warned of significant risks to migratory fish on the river because of damage to the weir in Fermoy town centre.
Cork County Council estimates the repairs and upgrading of the weir could cost more than €3m.
One of the organisers of the Save Fermoy Weir protest, Jason Mac Corcráin of Ballyduff Bridge Salmon Fishery, said: “Very simply, with the damage, the migratory salmon can’t clear the weir and they die, not only due to exhaustion from their attempts but also from diseases caused by the build-ups of sediment.”
Campaigner Donal O’Keeffe, writing in today’s Evening Echo, said: “It is now almost 70 years since the last serious repair of the weir, when the Burke brothers, local craftsmen, held back the river using nothing but sandbags and their own ingenuity.
“Much of the salmon pass is badly damaged now, with a long section of cap-stones washed away, and water flowing freely to one side.
“A few years ago, a temporary patch-job was carried out. That has now fallen apart,” he said.
“Across the centuries, an entire ecology has grown up around the weir. Without Fermoy Weir, the river upstream shrinks, not just downward, but inward too, and we would lose the very heart of our town.”