Protecting national treasures: Too many pike

The war to protect our endangered environment is made up of an ever-lengthening list of skirmishes where specific interest groups fight to protect one aspect or another of our natural world.

The Europe-wide campaign to save bees from pesticide annihilation is one example, the efforts to restore grey partridge populations in Ireland is another, as are moves to protect endangered bass stocks.

Over recent years another front in this battle has opened, this time around the impact a growing pike population is having on Ireland’s great western lakes.

These incomparable gifts of nature, unequalled in Europe, are vulnerable on too many fronts.

Industrial, human, and farm pollution, and invasive species — plants, mussels, and fish— are all taking their toll on waters we should regard and protect as national treasures.

There must always be a reluctance to control one species to benefit another but as pike can thrive in nearly any setting, it is time, and an obligation, to dramatically reduce their numbers in our great lakes — preferably before the character of these beautiful lakes is irreparably damaged.

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