The Arctic char is a cold climate salmonid species which occurs in nutrient poor, oligotrophic lakes in the west of Ireland and Wicklow. It is thought to have occurred in Glendalough in the past but is no longer found there. It may have been wiped out due to mining activities and the resulting pollution. The species may still occur in Lough Dan.
In January 2009, a re-introduction project began in consultation with the Irish Char Conservation Group. Environmental conditions in the Upper Lake were monitored continuously to ascertain that conditions would now be suitable for the fish. This monitoring process is continuing throughout the project. At the same time, genetic studies of existing Char populations throughout Ireland identified the Char in lough Cloon, Co. Kerry, as being the most suitable candidates genetically for this project.
Three thousand Char ova (eggs) were translocated from Lough Cloon into the Upper Lake at Glendalough. In January 2010, more eggs will be translocated from the same location, to supplement the previous year’s re-introduction.
The spawning period for char in Lough Cloon takes place in November and December. Eggs are collected & fertilised in December, but spawning is temperature dependant and the lake is monitored to identify when the spawning begins. Once the ova have been fertilised, they are transported in special incubation boxes to Glendalough, where they are seeded on previously identified Char spawning areas.
In January 2009, a count of the dead eggs post planting, revealed that there was a 77% hatching rate.