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Fish Stock Survey of Lough Shindilla, August 2022

Lough Shindilla is the uppermost lake on the Screebe system in Co. Galway, located approximately 0.75km west of Maam Cross (Plate 1.1, Figure 1.1). The lake has a surface area of 65.3ha, a mean depth >4m, a maximum depth of 22m and has been characterised as typology class 4 (as designated by the EPA for the Water Framework Directive), i.e., deep (>4m), greater than 50ha and low alkalinity (<20mg/l CaCO3).

Lough Shindilla is located in the Maumturk Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Most of the mountains in the SAC exceed 600m in height and the majority of the land within the site lies above an altitude of 250m. The main bedrock in the south is made up of quartzite and in the north of the SAC the bedrock is generally comprised of shales and slates (NPWS, 2013).

The site is a SAC for containing blanket bog, lowland oligotrophic lakes, alpine heath, siliceous rock and Rhynchosporion, all habitats listed on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive (NPWS, 2013). The SAC is also selected for containing slender naiad (Najas flexilis) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), both species listed on Annex II of the same Directive. Species listed in the Red Data Book which are located in the SAC include the Irish hare and the common frog (Rana temporaria). The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), a species listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive also occur within the SAC (NPWS, 2013).

Damaging activities and threats to the Maumturk Mountains SAC include overgrazing, peat-cutting and afforestation. Grazing, in particular by sheep, is quite severe within the site and has resulted in the erosion of both lowland and mountain blanket bog (NPWS, 2013).

The lake has been surveyed on five occasions since 2007 (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019) (Kelly and Connor, 2007 and Kelly et al., 2011, 2014 and Corcoran et al., 2020). These surveys have revealed a change in the fish community in the lake. Perch (Perca fluviatilis) have been the dominant species in more recent surveys, while no Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), a rare endemic species, have been recorded since 2016.

This report summarises the results of the 2022 fish stock survey carried out on the lake using Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fish in lakes monitoring protocol. The protocol is WFD compliant and provides insight into fish stock status in the lake.

Topics: Lake Surveys 2022 , |