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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

A Clonmel man has been convicted on five charges including assaulting fisheries officers stemming from a poaching incident at Inniscarra Dam in May last year.

Officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had observed Craig Brew fishing in a prohibited area known as the ‘Flush’ at the face of the ESB dam on 23 May 2020.

Evidence was heard that Brew — who had travelled from Tipperary to Cork during the COVID-19 lockdown — had refused to cooperate and violently threatened and resisted the fisheries officers before gardaí arrived to assist.

Brew was convicted by Judge Marian O’Leary at Cork District Court on Wednesday 21 April and fined €500 for illegal entry upon the private fishery, €400 for obstructing the fisheries officers, €500 for assault and €300 for not having a Salmon Rod Ordinary Licence.

Judge O’Leary also fined the defendant €300 for using a vehicle to aid the commission of an offence and considered an ancillary disqualification for the use of the vehicle. Costs of €400 were awarded to IFI and an order for forfeiture of the fishing rods used was granted.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “The welfare of our Fisheries Officers is of foremost importance to IFI and that they can carry out their necessary work while ensuring their own personal safety. We are concerned at the level of threatening and aggressive behaviour towards fisheries officers in the area and on social media.

“While we are satisfied with the convictions in this case, an assault on a fisheries officer is a severe matter and offenders will be prosecuted without exception. I urge anglers and members of the public to report illegal fishing through IFI’s confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.”

Published in Angling

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, anglers fishing in Irish waters in 2020 caught hundreds of large fish — according to the latest Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC) report.

One new record was set — for a 12.02kg smooth-hound hooked off Wicklow in July last year by Dublin angler John Hughes — and over 300 exceptionally large fish of different species were caught by anglers from venues throughout Ireland.

The main species were sharks like smooth-hound and spurdog while in freshwater, pike and brown trout dominated. All fish were caught, weighed, measured and released.

Amy O’Brien with dad Sidney, winner of the Dr AEJ Went Award for Young Specimen Angler of the Year with her 1.02kg golden grey mulletAmy O’Brien with dad Sidney, winner of the Dr AEJ Went Award for Young Specimen Angler of the Year with her 1.02kg golden grey mullet

Details of all these fish and current Irish record fish are in the Irish Specimen Fish Committee Report 2020, which has just been released and is available to download HERE. Hard copies will be available in mid-May.

The ISFC, which is supported by Inland Fisheries Ireland, is an independent all-Ireland voluntary body which verifies and records the capture of large fish caught on rod by anglers in freshwater and marine waters.

Published in Angling

The winners and runners-up have been announced in a national video competition for Go Fishing Week 2021, which is taking place this week.

Entries were received across Ireland under the title ‘Why I love to fish’, and one overall winner and five-runners up were selected.

The overall winner is Michael Galvin and his son Cathal from Longford, who received €100 worth of angling tackle. Runner-up prizes, which include buoyancy aids, are awarded to Angela Byrne; Anthony Murnane; Christopher Eleker; Maud Finn and her twin boys; and Michael Heron.

Suzanne Campion of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “We would like to congratulate all of the participants in the competition and in particular our overall winner and five runners-up.

"The videos embodied nature, a sense of wellbeing and enjoyment and displayed diverse footage of the anglers favourite fishing locations around Ireland.”

Go Fishing Week continues until next Monday 3 May and entries are still open in another competition, this time sharing a photo of a favourite fishing spot, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Angling

All salmon and sea trout anglers who have not returned last season’s angling logbook and unused gill tags are being urged to do so immediately.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says the logbooks and unused tags are necessary to provide vital data for managing Ireland’s wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) immediately on landing, followed by an entry to their logbook of their catch and gill-tag used.

If the fish is to be released, anglers must also make a catch record in their logbook.

Anglers are required by law to return their completed logbook (setting out their fishing and catch record) and all unused tags to the issuing office with seven days of licence expiry and no later than 19 October annually.

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI, says: “Salmon stocks are at a critical point and their survival is dependent on efforts made to manage and conserve this precious species.

“IFI is appealing to those anglers that have yet to return their logbooks to do so now. Anglers’ logbooks are a key part of the management process and we need your logbook information to inform the protection and conservation of this resource for future generations of anglers and salmon.”

Returns can be done via the prepaid postage return envelope which was supplied with the 2020 angling licence. In the absence of this, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office addressed on their licence/logbook.

Alternatively, scanned logbooks and licences may be emailed to [email protected] — anglers who choose this option are reminded that both sides and any continuation pages should be included in the scan to ensure the licence names and number can be linked to the correct logbook.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced the line-up of virtual events for Go Fishing Week 2021, its national celebration of fishing and angling.

Sustainability, protecting habitats and wellbeing benefits are the big themes over a week of free events that begins this Sunday 25 April with the first of the special ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinar series.

Among those giving talks during the week is Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting at Met Éireann, who will discuss how the weather on our inland lakes is forecast and the importance of knowing the weather for angling safety.

To view the full list of webinars and how to sign up, see the IFI website HERE.

There will also be a range of podcasts including one on the wildlife of the Garavogue River, a series of how-to videos, blogs, competitions and lots more on IFI’s social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. Followers are encouraged to use the hashtag #GoFishingWeek2021 when sharing the week’s events.

Meanwhile, IFI is asking people to submit a view of their favourite fishing spot in a photo competition to mark the occasion.

‘My Favourite Fishing Place’ is a chance to share a place where you love to fish and some of the fishing adventures you have gone on.

Entries are welcome from individuals or groups, fishing clubs, youth clubs, centres and projects until 5pm on Tuesday 4 May. The overall winner will receive fishing tackle to the value of €100 and there will also be prizes for runners-up and special categories. For more details see the IFI website HERE.

To learn more about what’s happening during the week and how you can get involved, visit the Go Fishing Week online hub HERE.

Published in Angling

A new online survey aims to collect changes in sea anglers’ catches in Ireland’s coastal waters over time.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says anglers participating in the survey will contribute towards understanding changes in angling species here.

Ireland’s sea angling resource ranges from tope in the Irish Sea to bass on the surf beaches of the Dingle Peninsula.

These fisheries attract many local anglers along with visitors from around the world. The new survey aims to track and inform possible long-term changes in the coastal fish populations targeted by anglers.

Dr William Roche, senior research officer at IFI, said: “We are looking for sea anglers of all ages and experience to take part in our new survey programme to help us to understand possible trends and changes in catch over the years.

“We know that anglers have expert localised knowledge from spending time outside observing nature and the fish they catch.

“Over a sea-angling career, this experience becomes a unique insight into the state of coastal fisheries and we want to reach out to those who have localised knowledge and care about the future of our fisheries resource to help us to understand how it has changed.”

IFI says the success of the study “relies on the knowledge, experience and observations of citizen scientist anglers. The survey has been carefully formulated to capture this knowledge and allow it to be expressed as indicators of the current state of our important fish populations.”

Each unique respondent will also be entered into a prize draw to win a voucher of up to €200 for their local angling tackle shop.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has teamed up with Leave No Trace Ireland to launch an outdoor recreational guide for angling based on the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.

As custodians of our natural fisheries resource, anglers can refer to this short guide on how they can minimise the impact their fishing trip can have on the environment.

The guide is also a useful checklist for anyone enjoying the outdoors with the 7 Principles being key reminders of how to reduce the effects we have on the natural world. They are:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Be Considerate of Others
  • Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
  • Leave What You Find
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Minimise the Effects of Fire

Suzanne Campion at IFI said: “320,000 Irish people enjoy fishing in Ireland and this guide will help them with their role in protecting the environment.

“Anglers are important stewards over the waters they fish. The guide we have prepared with Leave No Trace Ireland outlines what to consider before going on an angling trip.

“The angling community have a role in protecting the environment they fish in and to help nurture it for future generations to enjoy our fisheries resource.”

Maura Kiely, CEO of Leave No Trace Ireland, said she is delighted at the partnership for this new guide and added: “We have tailored the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace to work as a checklist for anglers when they are embarking on a fishing trip.

“Anglers are caretakers over the environment they fish in and they understand the need for healthy aquatic systems for fish populations to thrive. The guide will help anglers to make decisions that will minimise any impacts on nature when fishing.’

The guide is available on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

Building on the success of pilot programmes in 2019 and 2020, the Tuna CHART (CatcH And Release Tagging) fishery to collect scientific data on bluefin tuna will return in 2021, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

Tuna CHART is a collaborative scientific programme between Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute in partnership with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC).

In 2020, the Tuna CHART programme authorised 22 charter skippers to operate a scientific fishery — in which anglers participated fully — to catch, tag and release bluefin tuna. These professional skippers were trained to tag, measure and record bluefin data.

Despite the limitations of the pandemic, 685 bluefin tuna were caught, tagged and released around the Irish coast — a 230% increase in bluefin tagged on the previous year.

File image of bluefin tuna in Donegal Bay (Photo: David Morrissey)File image of bluefin tuna in Donegal Bay Photo: David Morrissey

The most productive sites were the North-West and the South coast, mainly the waters of the Cork coastline. As many as 11 bluefin were tagged on one angling trip, a new Irish record. The largest tuna tagged was 275cm, weighing an estimated 822lbs.

All tuna were carefully handled subject to strict guidelines set by the Tuna CHART programme and all were released alive. Data from the tagging programme has been collated by the partnership for reporting to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).

This year a maximum of 25 authorisations may be granted to qualifying vessels and skippers around the Irish coast for fishing between 1 July and 12 November. Applications are now open and will be accepted until 1pm on Friday 9 April.

Depending on the successful operation and review of this year’s fishery, it is intended that a scientific catch-and-release fishery may also operate in 2022.

The partnership says a core aspect of the Tuna CHART programme is the welfare and successful release of the bluefin tuna. Authorised skippers will be required to have high specification rods, reels and line in advance of the open season in order to ensure that the fish is brought alongside the vessel to be measured and tagged in the water in a timely manner.

Data collection for scientific assessment is the primary purpose of the fishery and will continue to be a key requirement for skipper participation in this scientific catch-and-release fishery, the partnership adds.

Skippers will be required to collect data on every bluefin trip undertaken and each bluefin tuna they catch, tag and release, and their angling and data recording expertise is an important part of the overall survey programme.

Anglers will have an opportunity to participate in this fishery and contribute to this important scientific study by chartering and fishing from authorised vessels only. Unauthorised vessels are not permitted to target or catch bluefin tuna, and any unauthorised person found to be targeting bluefin tuna will be prosecuted. Applications for authorisations are open to charter skippers only.

Published in Angling

For the first time ever, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) launches a virtual Go Fishing Week — a national celebration of angling with a programme of online events taking place.

Running from Sunday 25 April to Monday 3 May, Go Fishing Week provides an opportunity to connect with people across the country to encourage them to try fishing by making information accessible to all.

The programme of events will spread awareness of a series of themes during the course of the week, including sustainability, protecting habitats and wellbeing benefits.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said: “This year Go Fishing Week aims to encourage people to learn more about angling while also having important conversations around sustainable fishing, climate change and the cultural significance of our inland waters here in Ireland.

“We are delighted this year to be able to bring our events into a virtual capacity and make them accessible to everyone by doing so. From webinars, podcasts and videos to virtual competitions we hope that people of all ages will get involved and join us in celebrating Go Fishing Week 2021.”

All events will be free to join but registration may be required. Some of those scheduled for the week include:

  • Specimen Fish: Join the Irish Specimen Fish Committee in a webinar to learn all about specimen fish and the records of Irish specimen fish. The webinar will take place on Sunday 25 April.
  • Free a Flounder: Watch a video to show you how to safely remove a hook from a flounder and release it back into the water.
  • Safety on the Water: Join a webinar on all things around how to be safe around water especially as we come into the peak angling season and raise awareness of safety among all new anglers.

 As part of the event, IFI is also running a video competition. ‘Why I Love to Fish’ is an initiative to get more people to spread the word about fishing by sharing a short video clip of their angling adventures online and telling the world what angling means to them.

To learn more about what is happening and how you can get involved, visit the IFI website and catch up with social media updates in the run-up to the week on Facebook and Twitter.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) recently secured two separate convictions for illegal netting of salmon on the Barrow and Nore rivers respectively.

At a sitting of Kilkenny District Court on Tuesday 23 February 2021, Richie Lennon of New Ross, Co Wexford was fined €300 together with a €500 contribution towards costs following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Lennon pleaded guilty to the offences of illegal netting, the possession/control of four salmon and the refusal to give the name and address of another person when lawfully demanded.

The breaches of fisheries legislation occurred on 22 July 2020 on the River Barrow near Bauck in Co Carlow.

IFI fisheries officers outlined the facts of the case to the court and how Lennon had been observed in the act of illegal netting on the River Barrow, attempting to capture salmon.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Carthy. Following the conviction, details of a previous prosecution against Lennon which had been dealt with at Wexford District Court on 15 April 2014 when the Probation Act had been applied was identified.

Judge Carthy made it clear to Lennon that if he appears in court again on similar offences, she will consider a prison sentence.

‘On the River Barrow and the River Nore, salmon stocks are well below their conservation limit and require protection’

On the same day in Kilkenny District Court, Michael Hynes of Ballybeg, Co Waterford was fined €300 together with a €500 contribution after he pleaded guilty to the offences of illegal netting, the possession of seven salmon and the refusal to give the name and address of another person when lawfully demanded.

The breaches of fisheries legislation here occurred on 22 June 2020 on the River Nore, in the townland of Clonamery, Co Kilkenny.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Carthy sitting at Kilkenny District Court. IFI officers outlined the facts of the case to the court that Mr Hynes was apprehended and found to be in possession of seven dead salmon in his vehicle.

Lynda Connor, director of the South Eastern River Basin District at IFI, said: “I would like to commend the fisheries officers’ efforts and continuous commitment to protecting salmon.

“On the River Barrow and the River Nore, salmon stocks are well below their conservation limit and require protection. This type of illegal activity can have devastating effects on future stocks of salmon.

“These two convictions highlight the ongoing issue of illegal netting for salmon and IFI’s zero tolerance of this serious misconduct.”

Published in Angling
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