News

See all the latest news about the Pearl Mussel Project. Remember you can also check out the latest news on our Facebook page (links opposite).

Farmer consultation meetings a great success

PMP Farmer Meeting Collage

Over the last three weeks the Pearl Mussel Project hosted a total of 8 farmer and community consultation meetings within each of the catchments in the project in Counties Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Donegal.

The project team were delighted with the attendance at these events, with more than 250 farmers and local community representatives present at the different meetings.

The farmer consultation evenings provided an opportunity for the farm communities to learn about project developments to date, meet Pearl Mussel Project team members, and provide an input to the design of the results based farm programme to be launched in 2019. We had valuable discussions and input from local farmers at the meetings, touching on subjects such as treatment of commonage lands, turf cutting and other impacting activities (fishery and forestry), programme duration and participation, payment rates, and the control of invasive species among the topics raised at the meetings. During the meetings the project team circulated a consultation questionnaire to gauge perceptions in relation to farming, freshwater pearl mussel, and agri-environmental schemes. Over 175 completed forms were returned!! The responses are currently being analysed and will inform future programme design.

The Pearl Mussel Project wish to thank all the attendees who gave their time to participate at the meetings.

We would also like to thank the various groups that provided venues for the consultation meetings for their support of the Pearl Mussel Project including The Blackwater Tavern, Caha Centre, Dromid Day Centre, Glencar Community Centre, FORUM Connemara, Glen Keen Farm, The Boat Inn and Colmcille Heritage Centre.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

New Catchment Officers Appointed

The Pearl Mussel Project are delighted to welcome our two new catchment officers Tara Challoner and Mary McAndrew to the team working on the project to protect freshwater pearl mussels in Ireland. Tara will be working with farmers in the southern catchments in Cork and Kerry out of our Kenmare office, while Mary will be providing farmer support in the west and north-west catchments in Mayo, Galway and Donegal from her home base in Mayo. 

Mary McAndrew SML

Mary McAndrew has spent the past two and 1/2 years advising farmers on behalf of both the Farm Relief Services and Teagasc, and working with farmers for the GLAS agri-environmental scheme. Mary also worked on the Knowledge Transfer Groups programme, hosting meetings for farmers on relevant topics.

Contact email: mary@pmproject.ie





Tara Challoner Portrait

Tara Challoner has been working as a farm conservation advisor on hill farms in the UK since 2011 and has worked on several agri-environment schemes, including catchment sensitive farming and the development of  the results-based agri-environmental pilot scheme (RBAPS) project for the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (ENFCP) in the Yorkshire Dales. She has trained several groups of farmers and set up a land manager group who have joined a Natural England facilitation fund, whereby they agree to work together to protect the environment at a landscape scale.

Contact email: tara@pmproject.ie



Farmer Consultation meeting in the Kerry Blackwater

The Pearl Mussel Project kicked off a series of Farmer Consultation meetings last night in the Blackwater, Co. Kerry. 40 local farmers and members of the public were in attendance. The evening provided a valuable venue for the local community to learn about the project to date, meet team members, and provide an input to the design of the results based farm programme to be launched in 2019. The project obtained valuable feedback from farmers involved in the KerryLIFE project, as well as other related environmental topics. 

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

Blackwater meeting - Version 2
PMP TEam Blackwater 26.11.2018

Some of the members of Pearl Mussel Team in the Blackwater Tavern, Kerry (L to R): Patrick Crushell, Mary Catherine Gallagher, Mary McAndrew, Tomas O'Connor, Tara Challoner and Derek McLoughlin.


Upcoming Farmer Consultation Meetings

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Pearl Mussel Project Farmer Consultation Meetings in NW Announced

The Pearl Mussel Project EIP have announced details of a series of indoor farmer consultation meetings in the various project river catchments in north west of Ireland during December. 

The consultation meetings will outline the background and aims of the project. 

At these meetings we hope to get input from the farm communities on the design and implementation of the programme. 

All are welcome to attend!



  • Dawros Catchment: FORUM Connemara, Letterfrack, Co. Galway. Monday the 3rd  of December at 8pm
  • Bundorragha Catchment: Glen Keen Farm, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. Tuesday the 4th of December at 8pm
  • Owenriff Catchment: The Boat Inn, Oughterard, Co. Galway. Wednesday the 5th  of December at 8pm
  • Glaskeelan Catchment: Colmcille Heritage Centre, Church Hill, Co. Donegal. Thursday the 6th of December at 8pm

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

Pearl Mussel Project Farmer Consultation Meetings in SW Announced

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The Pearl Mussel Project EIP have announced details of a series of indoor farmer consultation meetings in the various project river catchments in south west of Ireland during November. 

The consultation meetings will outline the background and aims of the project. 

At these meetings we hope to get input from the farm communities on the design and implementation of the programme. 

All are welcome to attend!



  • Kerry Blackwater Catchment: The Blackwater Tavern, Blackwater, Co. Kerry. Monday the 26th of November at 8pm
  • Ownagappul Catchment: The Caha Centre, Ardgroom, Co. Cork. Tuesday the 27th of November at 8pm
  • Currane Catchment: Dromid Day Centre, Waterville, Co. Kerry. Wednesday 28th November at 8pm
  • Caragh Catchment: Glencar Community Centre, Glencar, Co. Kerry. Thursday 29th November at 8pm

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

Pearl Mussel Project Consultation Meetings 2018

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The Pearl Mussel Project EIP are organising a series of indoor farmer consultation meetings in the various project river catchments in late November and early December. The consultation meetings will outline the background and aims of the project. At these meetings we hope to get input from the farm communities on the design and implementation of the programme. All are welcome to attend.

Some provisional dates for your diary (we will advertise the final meeting schedule once venues have been confirmed):

Week 26th to 30th November - meetings in Cork and Kerry catchments

Week 3rd to 7th December- meetings in Mayo, Galway and Donegal catchments

The Pearl Mussel Project EIP are establishing a voluntary farm programme in eight priority river catchments in Ireland. The programme will incentivise farmers to improve the environmental condition of their farms with the aim of enhancing watercourses for the endangered Freshwater Pearl Mussel. The programme will be results based in that the better the environmental result the higher the payment to farmers. The overall project budget is €10 million. The eight river catchments include:

Bundorragha River Catchment, Co. Mayo

Caragh River Catchment, Co. Kerry

Currane River Catchment, Co. Kerry

Dawros River Catchment, Co. Galway

Glaskeelan River Cathcment, Co. Donegal

Ownagappul River Catchment, Co. Cork

Owenriff River Catchment, Co. Galway

The Pearl Mussel Project is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) Locally Led project. The Project is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

Burren Winterage School

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The Pearl Mussel Project were delighted to attended the Burren Winterage School events to see agri-environment schemes in the Slieve Aughty mountains (led by Hen Harrier Project) and the Burren (led by Burren Programme) over the last few days, where we met a range of groups engaged in agri-environmental results based payment programmes throughout the country. A great opportunity for us to learn from their experiences.

The Burren Winterage School celebrates the unique farming traditions of the Burren and other ‘high nature value’ farming landscapes across Ireland and Europe, as well as sharing ideas on how these special places and their custodians might best be supported at a time of great challenge. 

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Further information of the BurrenWinterage weekends events at: 
https://www.burrenwinterage.com/

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Pearl Mussel Project Results Based Farm Programme Presentation

The Pearl Mussel Project have developed a presentation with further details of the proposed results based farm programme to help protect freshwater pearl mussel in the top eight catchments in Ireland. 

A PDF of the presentation can be downloaded here

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Freshwater Pearl Mussel Conference - Connemara Green Festival

An interesting series of talks were presented at the Connemara Green Festival last Friday in Letterfrack focusing on the conservation of freshwater pearl mussel in Ireland.

We had lots of interesting feedback on the Pearl Mussel Project given by Derek McLoughlin from PMP and on the wonderful presentations from Marie Louise Heffernan, Bernie Whyte (LAWSAT) and Catherine Seale (LAWCO). Their was a good range of attendees including local farmers, businesses and fisheries owners. Brendan O’Malley of FORUM was an excellent chair for the session. Great to see the positive approach of the Dawros and surrounding catchment communities. Unfortunately due to bad weather and high river levels (good for the mussels... dangerous for humans) the excursion to Dawros River had to be cancelled.

Many thanks to Marie Louise, Janet and Letterfrack Tidy Towns for organising and running the conference which was a great success.

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© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018