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#Angling - Submissions are now open in a public consultation hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) around a proposed angling bye-law which focuses on the conservation of sea trout and brown trout on the River Bandon.

The new bye-law aims to help conserve the numbers of brown trout of all sizes taken from upstream areas of the river and its tributaries, as well as the numbers of young sea trout taken in the lower river and upper estuary.

There is currently no minimum length size specified when catching and retaining a sea trout or brown trout on the river. In addition, there is no ‘bag limit’ on the number of brown trout an angler can retain.

The new bye-law would set a minimum length of 25 centimetres for any sea trout or any brown trout caught and retained on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries, and a bag limit of not more than three brown trout per day on the waters of the River Bandon and its tributaries.

The bye-law would also require anglers to fish by catch-and-release methods, ban the use of worms, and allow only single barbless hooks in angling for brown trout once the three per-day bag limit had been reached.

Interested parties should make a submission to the consultation in writing. Submissions should be marked ‘Public consultation – River Bandon (Conservation of Trout)’ and be submitted by post to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sunnyside House, Macroom, Co Cork, P12 X602 or by email to [email protected]

The deadline for receipt of submissions is 5pm on Monday 31 December. All submissions received by IFI will be published on its website at www.fisheriesireland.ie.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Salmon and sea trout anglers are reminded of the importance of returning their 2018 angling logbook and unused gill tags to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

These returns provide vital information and facilitate informed decision-making on Ireland’s wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks, according to the fisheries body.

Anglers are asked to return their logbook as part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, which regulates salmon and sea trout fishing in Ireland and is administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In accordance with this scheme, anglers are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office once they have finished fishing for the season, or as soon as the season is over at the end of September and no later than the 19 October annually.

Anglers are reminded that they can only retain a maximum of one salmon per day in a fishery with a surplus, provided they still have remaining tags in the month of September.

The return of logbooks and tags can be done via the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. In the absence of such an envelope, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office addressed on their licence/logbook.

The records from this year’s angler returns will support management decisions in 2019.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) immediately on landing. They then must enter the details of the catch and gill tag used into their logbook. If the fish is to be released, anglers must also make a catch record in their logbook.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “As the end of season approaches, we are reminding salmon and sea trout anglers to return their logbooks and unused tags as soon as possible.

“The vast majority of anglers appreciate the importance of their data in terms of the conservation of our precious fisheries resource.”

For more information on the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme and IFI, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie. Any queries in relation to the scheme can be sent to [email protected]

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) would like to remind all salmon and sea trout anglers to submit their 2017 logbook and unused gill tags to the relevant IFI office using the pre-printed envelope supplied at time of purchase.

Your contribution to the management of our wild Atlantic salmon stocks for 2018 is very important. 69% of anglers returned their logbook and unused tags last year.

Licence Returns

For further information click here

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#Angling - Sean Kyne, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, gives statutory notice of his intention to make the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 to provide for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery by Inland Fisheries Ireland from 1 January 2018.

A copy of the draft regulations is open for public inspection at the offices of the department in Cavan and also at the offices of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Any person may submit observations and.or objections to the draft regulations at any time during the period of 30 days concluding Thursday 14 December either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the following address:

Inland Fisheries Division
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment,
Elm House,
Earlsvale Road,
Cavan Town
H12 A8H7
Ireland
Tel (01) 6783071 / Lo-call 1890 449900 Ext 3071

Note that rates charged for the use of the 1890 number may vary between service providers.

All submissions received will be published on the department’s website following the conclusion of the consultation period.

Published in Angling

#Angling - An angling bye-law focusing on salmon and sea trout has come into effect for Burrishoole, Co Mayo.

Sean Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, introduced the Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout Shramore (Burrishoole)(Catch and Release) Bye Law No 951 into operation on Tuesday 13 June.

The new bye-law provides for catch and release angling for salmon and sea trout over 40cm in length in the Shramore (Burrishoole) system, and applies to Lough Furnace and the Seven Arch Bridge on the L5435 (old Newport Road). 

Operative from Wednesday 14 June till Saturday 30 September, the bye-law and provides for the use of single barbless hooks while prohibiting the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout.

‘Catch and release’ angling refers to the method of carefully handling any fish caught and immediately returning the fish alive to the water. This form of angling has a significant positive impact on the survival rate of released fish. 

In addition, salmon and sea trout caught by fly fishing using single barbless hooks have a greater chance of survival than fish caught on barbed hooks. Barbless hooks do less damage, are easier to remove and reduce handling time which can be an important factor influencing survival.

Salmon and sea trout are some of Ireland’s main wild fish species attracting domestic and overseas anglers alike. Angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and supports upwards of 11,000 jobs which are often in rural communities.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief executive of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Our salmon and sea trout stocks are extremely valuable. These new measures at Shramore, Burrishoole, will allow us to introduce a number of important methods which will help us protect these populations into the future.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves the details of the new bye-law, available as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is now inviting submissions from the public on the development of a national sea trout policy.

Sea trout in Ireland, in the context of legislation and management, has traditionally been closely identified with salmon and this consultation process will consider the requirement of establishing a separate identity for sea trout.

The policy will make recommendations which will inform a range of issues including sustainable management of stock and any possible legislative changes that may emerge in the future.

Other areas to be addressed will include protection and conservation (including biodiversity, habitat protection and interactions with aquaculture), stock assessment, and education and promotion.

Sea trout, the migratory form of brown trout, leave freshwater as a juvenile fish typically after two years. They enter marine waters where they feed heavily before returning to freshwater, usually to breed with some components of the population spawning several times over their lifetime.

As a result, the sea trout is a valuable angling fish which occurs in most coastal rivers and inshore waters.

Sea trout has significant economic and cultural importance in Ireland with potential for further development. This is coupled with major concerns about sea trout stock declines in some systems nationally, most particularly along the western seaboard, and requires that future management of sea trout is underpinned by a comprehensive policy.

IFI says it recognises the diverse opinions of stakeholders regarding the future management of sea trout and their fisheries and encourages stakeholder engagement through this public consultation process.

Interested parties are invited to make submissions which will be reviewed and considered by the Sea Trout Policy Group, which comprises of a range of representatives with a broad experience of sea trout within IFI.

“The sea trout is a complex migratory fish frequenting freshwater, estuaries and marine waters,” says IFI chief executive Ciaran Byrne. “The biodiversity, economic and cultural value of this type of fish requires a policy direction to manage this precious resource sustainably and to conserve it into the future.

“This public consultation, and ultimately the policy recommendations which will emerge, will capture stakeholder views and incorporate the broad scope of management issues that will underpin future policy.”

The public consultation period will run for five weeks until Wednesday 12 July. All submissions must be made in writing and will be published on the IFI website. Submissions should be marked ‘Public Consultation – Sea Trout Policy’ and can be submitted to [email protected] or by post to:

Sea Trout Policy
Inland Fisheries Ireland
3044 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin 24
D24 Y265

Information on the consultation is available from the IFI website or from any IFI office.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has published a new report called The Celtic Sea Trout Project (CSTP) which addresses significant knowledge gaps around sea trout. This migratory trout has a significant fisheries value however some sea trout fisheries in parts of Ireland and the UK bordering the Irish Sea are suffering decline.

The project, which consisted of a multi-agency partnership investigation into sea trout stocks and fisheries of rivers entering the Irish Sea, aimed to address the knowledge gaps, and identify the causes of decline with a view to supporting potential management solutions. Current understanding suggests that the incidence of sea trout and the composition and status of their stocks is sensitive to changes in the environments in which they live. These life history features and the sea trout’s widespread occurrence, make it a unique and potentially sensitive indicator of environmental change.

The structure of the Irish Sea and the variety of rivers draining to it, ranging from the mountainous rivers of West Wales to the lowland rivers of East Ireland, meant there was a wide range of marine and freshwater environments for the study. Funded under the INTERREG IVA Ireland Wales Programme, the Celtic Sea Trout Project was the first project in Ireland and the UK to combine a variety of disciplines in the study of sea trout and their fisheries on a large scale.

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries said, “I particularly welcome this report and the exemplary collaboration between Irish researchers at Inland Fisheries Ireland and other bodies and their international counterparts. The research has resulted in a better understanding of the Sea Trout stocks in the Irish and Celtic seas and this will underpin logical and well-informed decisions on the management requirements that are needed to safeguard these stocks into the future and to ensure the maximum social and economic contribution is secured”.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “This is a ground-breaking multi-agency partnership investigation which aims to fill some of the information gaps around sea trout conservation. The first study of its kind, the Celtic Sea Trout Project is a wide-scale comprehensive, cross-disciplinary project which has provided valuable insight into many important research needs in this area, which were first identified at the International Symposium on Sea Trout in 2004. Its primary purpose of improving understanding of sea trout stocks in order to support better management in the freshwater and marine environments has been achieved.”

The research will improve the management and long term future of sea trout in the Irish Sea by providing information and advice for management which can be translated into fishery and conservation benefits for countries bordering the Irish Sea. It has also established a wider awareness and long term network of people working to secure the future of sea trout.

Partners in the Celtic Sea Trout Project included: Inland Fisheries Ireland, Bangor University, University College Cork, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency (England), Isle of Man Government, Nith District Salmon Fisheries Board, Galloway Fisheries Trust, Annan District Salmon Fisheries Board and Buccleuth Estate (Border Esk). Subcontractors included APEM Ltd, Cefas and Fishskill Consultancy Services.

Published in Fishing

The Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland has welcomed new research by scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland and Argyll Fisheries Trust (Scotland) which found that sea trout carry significantly higher levels of sea lice infestation closer to marine salmon farms. Researchers examined sea lice levels over 25 years from more than 20,000 sea trout. The sea trout were sampled from 94 separate river and lake systems in Ireland and Scotland at varying distances from salmon farms.

The research revealed that sea trout captured closer to salmon farms had significantly higher levels of lice infestation and were found to be of reduced weight. Sea trout are known to remain for extended periods in near-coastal waters where the majority of salmon farms are located. This fish is therefore particularly vulnerable to sea lice impact, having the potential to encounter lice of farm origin throughout much of its marine life.
The effect of the increased lice infestation was most evident in years of less rainfall, when a sea trout of average length (180mm) caught within 10 kilometres of a farm could weigh up to 10g less than fish of similar length caught more than 40 kilometres from a farm. The study covered the entire coasts of West Ireland and Scotland and accounted for variability in temperature and rainfall.
The research article entitled ‘Aquaculture and environmental drivers of salmon lice infestation and body condition in sea trout’ was authored by Dr. Samuel Shephard and Dr. Paddy Gargan of Inland Fisheries Ireland alongside Craig MacIntyre of the Argyll Fisheries Trust. It was published in the international journal Aquaculture Environment Interactions in October.
Studies have shown that the impact of sea lice in farmed areas on sea trout has been substantial with increased mortality, reduced body condition and a changed migratory behavior reported. Heavily liced sea trout return to freshwater prematurely to rid themselves of lice and exhibit very poor marine growth and greatly reduced marine survival. In fact, the most heavily lice infested sea trout die at sea. Rod catch data from 18 Connemara fisheries from 1974 to 2014 show a collapse in rod catch over the 1989/1990 period (see Figure 1). This collapse has been linked to lice infestation from salmon farms while recovery of sea trout rod catches to pre collapse levels has not occurred.
Sea trout offer significant angling value while traditionally the species was abundant on the west coast of Ireland. Angling is worth €836 million to the Irish economy every year and supports upwards of 11,000 jobs, often in rural and peripheral communities. Inland Fisheries Ireland carries out research across fish populations, their habitats and the ecosystem with a view to informing the protection and conservation of this precious resource.
Dr. Paddy Gargan, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland and one of the report authors, said: “”While there had been some improvement in sea lice control in recent years, lice control on salmon farms was still not sufficient in certain west of Ireland bays during the spring migration period for sea trout to avoid heavy lice infestation and increased marine mortality. More effort is required to ensure lice levels on salmon farms are adequately controlled at this critical period when sea trout leave freshwater and enter the sea.”
Dr. Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The finding that salmon farming is responsible for increased sea lice infestation and for significantly reduced body condition in sea trout may have implications for current lice control management strategies. This research will inform coastal zone planning of aquaculture in the future and contribute towards the avoidance of potential impact on sea trout stocks.
Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to protecting and conserving our fish populations and this research is crucial in managing the sea trout species in Ireland. This country is known as a unique angling destination as a result of its indigenous wild fish species and beautiful scenery. Continued investment in research is necessary to ensure the conservation and protection of our fisheries resource.”

Published in Fishing

#Angling - Sean Kyne TD, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, has given statutory notice of his intention to make the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations 2016 to provide for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery by Inland Fisheries Ireland from 1 January 2017.

A copy of the draft regulations is available from the department website and and is also open for public inspection at the offices of the department in Cavan and at the offices of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Any person may submit observations or objections to the draft regulations at any time during the period of 30 days concluding on 11 December 2016 either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the following address:

Inland Fisheries Division,
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment,
Elm House,
Earlsvale Road,
Cavan Town
H12 A8H7
Ireland
Tel: 01 6783071 / Lo-call 1890 449 900 Extension 3071

All submissions received will be published on the department's website following the conclusion of the consultation period.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Minister of State Joe McHugh has approved a suite of regulations and bye-laws that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in the New Year, coming into effect from Friday 1 January.

Minister McHugh said 50 rivers will be fully open and this will provide opportunities for all to share this important natural resource on a sustainable basis. A further 32 will be open for angling on a catch and release basis.

In all, 82 rivers will open for angling activity in 2016 - one fewer than in 2015.

Minister McHugh received management advice in relation to 146 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) before making a final decision.

This advice was also made available publicly as part of a public consultation process and was based on the scientific assessment of the current status of all stocks carried out by the independent Standing Scientific Committee on Salmon.

The committee comprises scientists from IFI, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Marine Institute, the Loughs Agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI- Northern Ireland) other State bodies and third level institutions.

Thirteen submissions were considered as part of the public consultation process which closed on 10 December.

In all, the Independent Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon (SSCE) assessed 146 rivers/estuaries/harbours and has advised that:

  • 50 rivers are open as a surplus of fish has been identified in these rivers.
  • 32 rivers are classified as open for “catch and release” angling.
  • 64 rivers are closed as they have no surplus of fish available for harvest.

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations for 2016 are in essence unchanged from the Regulations which were introduced for 2015.

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