Many of the 1,000 local hunting clubs affiliated to the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) are active in trapping North American Mink, which is an Invasive Alien Species. Specifically, the Dublin Regional Game Council is currently engaged in several mink trapping projects within County Dublin.
Their efforts along the River Liffey, spanning approximately 7 miles from Lucan Weir to Heuston Station/Islandbridge Weir, are truly commendable. This project stands out as a successful urban/rural initiative, clearly demonstrating how hunter-led projects can yield positive outcomes for waterbirds and fish populations.
The traps are placed on each Weir on the Liffey. Mink actively use the Weirs in particular any dry holes, old stone walls, and other features to their advantage. The trap lines start at Lucan Weir, then Shackleton’s Weir, then Wren’s Nest Weir, the Guinness Bridge/John Cheever’s River Garden, then Chapelizod Weir, then Chapelizod Bridge and lastly Islandbridge Weir/Heuston Station (which is in the city). The project has the full support of the local residents and businesses along the river.
The project started about 15 years ago using standard regular mink traps with wooden covers. The traps are baited with duck and pheasant feathers/skin; unflavoured canned fish; heads or guts of any local river caught fish e.g. pike or roach. The traps are subsidised through the NARGC predator control grant scheme, and they follow the advice in the NARGC predator control manual.
The River has much better waterbird productivity in spring and early summer with fantastic broods of waterbirds. Anglers in the area have also reported a significant resurgence in fish populations, indicating that the project has had a positive impact on the overall ecosystem.
Source: The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC)