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|Section Manager||Prof. George Hutchinson|
|Section author||Danny Campbell|
|Editors||Emer Campbell & Bob Foy|
Ireland’s waterways, lakes and wetlands are a significant part of our natural heritage and their management and maintenance is a major responsibility. Lough Melvin is a unique and internationally significant lake located in the counties of Leitrim and Fermanagh and is described as “one of the few remaining natural post-glacial salmonid lakes in north-western Europe”.
In relatively pristine condition, the lake and surrounding catchment area are highly valued for their recreational, heritage and environmental qualities by anglers, tourists, scientists and the local community.
As part of a larger project examining the wider economic value of Lough Melvin, our partners in the Gibson Institute for Land, Food and Environment focused on assessing the perceived economic value of fish stocks. The general public (in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) were asked to attach a relative economic value to a number of salmonid fish species within the Catchment. These included the Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), the ferox (Salmo ferox), the gillaroo (Salmo stomachicus) and the sonaghan (Salmo nigripinnis). This was achieved using a discrete choice experiment methodology which involved face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,186 members of the public.
People placed highest value on preserving rare or valuable species. Specifically, sonaghan was valued at €167 million per year, Atlantic salmon at €138 million per year and gillaroo at €74 million per year. By comparison, Artic char was valued at €59 million per year and ferox was valued lowest at €55 million per year. The combined cost of preserving all fish species was equal to the value of preserving the highest value species alone at €167 million per year.
This was part of a major programme funded by INTERREG IIIA in collaboration with partners in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Northern Regional Fisheries Board, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland and Teagasc in the Republic of Ireland.
Download the final reports:
Executive Summary to Lough Melvin Catchment Management Plan