All three Irish lamprey species are listed under Annex II of the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC); and are included in Schedule Four of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (S.I. No. 477/2011), which is the most recent transposition in Irish legislation. The River Lamprey is also listed on Annex V of the Habitats Directive (1992).
The EU Habitats Directive (1992) sets out a framework for the creation of designated Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), or Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) in Northern Ireland, for the protection of species listed on Annex II and also habitats listed on Annex I which are of conservation importance at a European scale. Included in the designation of SAC sites there is the requirement for monitoring and protection of Lamprey species coupled with the conservation and maintenance of their preferred habitat. The three lamprey species are also listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention (1979).
In Northern Ireland Lamprey species are also protected under the Fisheries Acts (1959 to 2006); the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) (1966); the Foyle Fisheries Act (NI) (1952); and the Foyle and Carlingford Fisheries Act (2007).