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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

July and August are typically the busiest months of the year for angling, so Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is issuing a timely reminder about the national regulations that are in place to protect pike and coarse fish.

Angling is a hugely popular leisure activity and sport in Ireland, with IFI-commissioned research revealing that over 325,000 adults enjoy it.

According to an Amárach Research omnibus survey in 2021, 18% of adults who have not tried angling before are “likely” to try it in the future.

IFI is the State agency with responsibility for the promotion of angling, as well as the protection, conservation and management of inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

“Historically, Ireland has been known for its salmon and trout fishing, but the country is also being hailed internationally for its pike and coarse fishing,” IFI’s head of business development Suzanne Campion says.

“However, the national regulations around pike and coarse fishing might not be as well known.

“There are conservation measures in place to protect pike and coarse fish under national byelaws. It is very important that every angler, including first-time anglers and experienced anglers, becomes familiar with these pieces of legislation to avoid any potential fines or prosecutions.”

Pike are one of largest freshwater fish species in Ireland and can reach over 15kg (33lbs) in weight, while coarse fish include species such as roach, bream, rudd, tench and perch.

Important Bye Laws

Under the national Pike Bye Law (no. 809/2006), there’s a ‘bag limit’ of one pike in any one day. This means that an angler can only keep and take away one pike and must carefully return any other pike caught to the same waterbody, safely.

The same bye law also prohibits the killing of any pike that measure longer than 50 centimetres. In these cases, the pike must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody.

Under the Coarse Fish Bye Law (no. 806/2006), there’s a bag limit of four coarse fish in any one day, meaning that if an angler catches more than four course fish, those must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody. In addition, any coarse fish that measure longer than 25 centimetres cannot be killed.

Meanwhile, there are other regulations that apply to all anglers, regardless of what type of species they are fishing for. For example, it is illegal to fish in Ireland with more than two rods; it is illegal to transfer live roach from one waterbody to another and finally, the use of live bait when angling is prohibited.

Breaches of fisheries legislation could result in fixed penalty fines, seizure of fishing equipment or criminal prosecutions.

Catch and Release

‘Catch and release’ is a conservation practice that is supported by IFI, whereby a fish is handled responsibly and put back into the same waterbody, safely.

When fishing for coarse fish, the use of large keep nets is encouraged; it is also recommended that pike and carp sacks are used to weigh the fish, before returning them safely to the same waterbody.

Campion added: “For anyone interested in angling or trying it out, there is an extensive network of very active clubs, associations and federations all over the country that organise coaching, events and competitions. There’s also a dedicated website for angling in Ireland at www.fishinginireland.info with very helpful information about regulations and bye laws, directories and resources.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to landowners to consult with it before carrying out works on or near watercourses after a Longford man was fined or disturbance of spawning beds.

Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on 12 April following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Judge Bernie Owens convicted Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on 30 June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank.

These works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.

The court heard evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions, which occurred along a 90-metre section of the river.

Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come.

She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.

The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of the Erne River Catchment which contains a prime spawning habitat for wild brown trout.

Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District at IFI said: “Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a serious fish kill incident at the River Rye in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Environmental and fisheries officers from the Eastern River Basin District in Dublin were alerted to the incident on the evening of Wednesday 8 June.

Water and fish samples were taken from the scene and removed for scientific analysis at an independent laboratory.

IFI estimates that there could be in excess of 500 mortalities of brown trout plus other fish species in the impacted area covering approximately 2km of river.

Investigations are ongoing and IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it is not in a position to comment on the cause of the fish kill at this stage, pending further analysis of samples taken.

The River Rye (or Ryewater) is an important spawning river for brown trout and a key spawning channel for a highly sensitive population of Atlantic salmon within the River Liffey catchment area.

To report fish kills, members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s confidential 24-hour hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

The State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish, habitats and sea angling resources is asking angling enthusiasts who have fished the Currane catchment in Co Kerry for their views.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) new online survey aims to gather anglers’ knowledge via the FLEKSI method, which was developed by IFI to help give a deep insight into the status of fisheries.

Over recent decades populations of sea trout and salmon throughout Ireland are facing serious challenges from various ecological changes.

IFI’s Currane STAMP programme is already assessing fish populations within their freshwater and marine phases, to report current status and provide scientific advice to support the development of appropriate conservation management measures.

The data gathered in the FLEKSI survey has the potential for citizens to get involved and provide important insights to guide fisheries management in the future.

This survey is for all anglers who fish in the Currane catchment for various species. IFI says all responses will help to build an understanding of the history and ecological status of your fishery.

FLEKSI — which stands for Fisher’s Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators — aims to capture anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in fish stocks and ecosystems.

Dr William Roche, a senior research officer with IFI and manager of the STAMP project said: “Anglers are keen observers of nature and are aware of changes within their fisheries. We are looking for anglers to share their knowledge and contribute to the conservation and management of this important sea‑trout and salmon fishery.

“The Currane fishery is particularly highly regarded by anglers, but there is grave concern about the health of its fish stocks in recent years.

“By capturing these observations, which inevitably span an individual angler’s entire angling career, we believe their unique insight into the fisheries environment will help us to track and understand changes in Currane’s sea trout stocks and the ecosystem as a whole.”

The Currane catchment in Co Kerry is Ireland’s most important sea trout fishery, with a long history of high-quality fishing, particularly for larger sea trout. The fishery is renowned internationally and has been the cornerstone of sea trout and salmon fishing in the southwest of the country since the 1900s. 

IFI says the FLEKSI survey will give anglers on the Currane catchment an exciting opportunity to share their knowledge as citizen scientists and to make a valuable contribution towards fisheries management on the fishery.

If you fish the Currane system, you are invited to fill out the online survey HERE.

Each participant also can opt to enter into a prize draw for angling tackle, with one €200 voucher and one €100 voucher to be won.

Published in Angling

A Cork city man convicted of strokehauling salmon received a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years at a sitting of Cork District Court on Tuesday 17 May.

Shane Heaphy (27) of Templeacre Avenue, Gurranabraher pleaded guilty to committing four fisheries offences on the River Lee on 25 July 2020.

The court heard evidence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) protection officers that Heaphy entered upon a several (private) fishery at the Cork Waterworks weir on 25 July to strokehaul salmon.

Strokehauling is an illegal method of catching fish that involves ripping weighted hooks along the flank of a fish to try and impale it and causes horrific injuries to the fish.

Judge Marian O’Leary, hearing that Heaphy had previous convictions for strokehauling, responded by stating that “strokehauling was cruel” and that the court took a “dim view” of the practice.

Heaphy was also convicted of possession of a fishing rod and line, fishing within 50 yards of the downstream face of the weir and using a strokehaul. He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €350 in expenses.

IFI director of the South West River Basin District, Sean Long welcomed the judges’ comments: “The practice of strokehauling is barbaric and fuelled by a small black-market for illegally caught fish.

“We will not tolerate any kind of illegal fishing and our protection staff carry out covert and overt operations to safeguard our fisheries resource.

“Anglers and members of the general public are urged to report illegal fishing to IFI in confidence through our 24-hour hotline number 0818 347 424.”

IFI reminds the public that angling is prohibited in the Waterworks Powerhouse area under the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Article 4 of the River Lee (Cork Waterworks Weir) By-Law No.453 of 1943.

Published in Angling

The deadline to enter the third online lottery for ‘brown tags’ for wild salmon angling on the Lower River Lee is 5pm on Thursday 9 June.

A further 38 brown tags will be issued on Monday 13 June by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), following the second lottery for 38 tags on 11 April, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon and keep it must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 152 brown tags are available for the season and have been distributed to anglers with a 2022 rod licence through a series of online lotteries since January.

Anglers interested in entering the third draw are being asked to apply online between now and 5pm on Thursday 9 June. Only one entry is permitted per licence holder into the draw. Entries will not be accepted by email in this draw.

Anglers with a 2022 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

In addition, anglers who received a tag in either of the previous draws may enter this draw only if they have used that tag. Anglers must be able to provide evidence of using the tag by supplying a photo of the double tagged salmon and the relevant entry in their angler’s logbook.

Further details and conditions are available from the IFI website, by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221 or emailing [email protected]

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) proposes to draft a scheme in accordance with Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003, which aims to ensure better availability and a higher standard of public services through Irish.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats now wishes to invite representations in relation to the preparation of the draft scheme from any interested parties.

Submissions should be addressed to [email protected] Alternatively, they may be posted to: Irish Language Scheme Public Consultation, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 CK66.

Information in relation to the mandate and role/services provided to the public by IFI is available on www.fisheriesireland.ie.

The latest date for receipt of representations is Wednesday 6 July.

IFI asks those making submissions to hindly note that:

  1. Everyone who takes part in an IFI consultation will be notified of the final document emerging from the consultation process.
  2. The names of respondents and their submissions will be published on IFI’s website at the end of each consultation process (ie at the time the document arising from the consultation is published). Any further information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘Personal data ‘as defined under Article 4 of GDPR) will be redacted prior to publication on the IFI website.
  3. IFI is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and therefore has to consider any request made to it under that Act. IFI will provide advice as follows: ‘If you consider that any part of your submission would be subject to any of the statutory exclusions under that Act please so indicate in your submission, specifying under which exemption you believe the content should be excluded.’

All personal data that IFI may use is collected, processed and held in accordance with the provisions of EU Regulation 2016/679 General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

A version of this notice in Irish is available on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

The Minister for the Environment has welcomed new funding to 34 projects in 14 counties under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme 2022 awarded by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Under two separate funds — the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund and the Midland Fisheries Fund — eligible angling clubs, commercial fishermen and fishery owners were invited to apply for financial assistance to support fisheries conservation projects in their local areas.

A total of €1,053,390 in funding for 34 projects has been approved so far this year, going to projects based in Cavan (€35k), Cork (€12k), Donegal (€90k), Dublin (€12k), Galway (€115k), Leitrim (€6k), Limerick (€116k), Louth (€45k), Mayo (€130Kk), Meath (€224k), Monaghan (€30k), Westmeath (€66k), Wexford (€30k), Wicklow (€9k) and a national project (€135k).

Examples of awards granted fisheries conservation funding include:

  • planning and assessment reports to find appropriate solutions for fish passage on barriers
  • construction of rock ramp passageways to make it easier for fish to migrate upstream and downstream of impassable weirs
  • carrying out catchment-focused feasibility studies, habitat management plans and environmental assessments to focus on appropriate and specific measures to benefit river habitats and species
  • improvements to water quality and river habitats by installing fences and providing solar powered water pumps to minimise agricultural impacts, thus encouraging natural riverbank regeneration and climate resilience of the watercourse
  • instream restoration works on spawning and nursery habitats for salmon and sea trout and introducing native Irish trees and shrubs along exposed riverbanks to benefit the long-term management of rivers
  • research to inform and improve national management strategies around salmonids

The announcement has been welcomed by Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications. “The funds awarded this year in the Habitats and Conservation Scheme will go towards a combination of work focused on conserving our freshwater fish and their habitats,” he said.

‘Healthy rivers and lakes are critical to a healthy ecosystem’

“The €1m fund will support angling clubs and fishery owners to improve habitats, water quality and fish passage in their immediate areas, while also supporting IFI personnel to deliver projects at a national level.

“Healthy rivers and lakes are critical to a healthy ecosystem and the works and studies supported by the scheme will also benefit the surrounding environment and the restoration of our natural resources.”

Since 2016, IFI — the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats — has made more than €5 million available through its various funding schemes.

“Conservation and protection are at the heart of the work we do and ensuring fish species like Atlantic salmon and sea trout get the best chance possible to thrive in our inland waters,” IFI’s Suzanne Campion said.

“The Habitats and Conservation Scheme is made possible through fishing licence income and promotes groups all over the country to be able to work on projects and measures that benefit the conservation of salmon, sea trout and their freshwater habitats.”

Financial assistance under the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund (SSTRCPF, total of €1,003,390) is generated by the sale of salmon and sea trout angling licences and commercial fishing licences in Ireland. The Midlands Fisheries Fund (MFF, total of €50,000) is financed through contributions from permit income, received through the Midlands Fisheries Group permit area.

To be eligible, applicants to the SSTRCPF must have purchased a valid salmon and sea trout angling licence or a commercial fishing licence or, for the MFF, hold a current Midlands Fisheries Group permit.

IFI says further allocations of funding may be announced later in the year.

Published in Angling

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that an Inland Fisheries Ireland fish stock survey will take place on Lough Ree from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 25 June.

Survey nets will be set in up to 100 locations on Lough Ree depending on weather and other factors. All nets will be marked with orange buoys and identified with “IFI Survey” markings.

IFI vessels will be operating by day and night on the inland waterway during the survey.

Masters of vessels are requested to maintain a sharp lookout while underway on Lough Ree and to give all marked buoys a wide berth.

Published in Inland Waterways

Two young artists from Cork and Dublin have scooped the winning prizes in the 2022 Something Fishy national poster competition, with a third student from Laois being awarded the Special Judges’ Category prize.

The competition, which is organised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in conjunction with Blackrock Education Centre, received artistic entries from across the country.

Madelena Duggan, a sixth-class pupil from Ardfield National School in Clonakilty, Co Cork and Emma Kilmurry, a fifth-class pupil from Sacred Heart School, Clondalkin, Co Dublin each won in their category for their conservation-themed poster.

While Katie O’Neill, a sixth-class pupil from Presentation Portarlington Primary School, Portarlington, Co Laois won the Special Judges’ Category prize.

Madelena Duggan, 6th class winner, Ardfield National School, Clonakilty, CorkMadelena Duggan, 6th class winner, Ardfield National School, Clonakilty, Cork

Earlier this year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, primary school students around the country were challenged by IFI to create a poster with the ‘catch-photo-release’ (CPR) message that could be used in awareness campaigns.

Announcing the winners, Suzanne Campion of IFI said: “We received a host of beautiful posters containing important conservation-based messaging. It is reassuring to see the level of awareness that today’s young people have on issues around conservation and protection of our fisheries resource.

“Engagement in these issues early on is promising for future generations to be active stewards over our inland fisheries and the surrounding environment.”

The overall winners will receive a tablet to the value of €500 each and the winner of the Special Judges’ Category will receive a tablet to the value of €200.

Emma Kilmurry, 5th class, Sacred Heart School, Clondalkin, DublinEmma Kilmurry, 5th class, Sacred Heart School, Clondalkin, Dublin

Niamh Murray, director of Blackrock Education Centre added: “It was fantastic to see the number of entries in this year’s Something Fishy competition. I was incredibly impressed by the standard of artwork created by the young people. They are all winners as far as I am concerned!

“It is also greatly encouraging to witness young people wanting to be involved in environmental issues and the competition was a perfect way to harness this interest. The future looks very good with such committed, environmentally aware young people. Their artwork will go on to feature in awareness campaigns nationally on fish conservation.”

The national poster competition is an important element of the wider Something Fishy Educational Programme, aimed at primary school pupils aged between ten and thirteen. It educates students on the importance of biodiversity and on having sustainable habitats, fish and angling. Information about the programme is available from somethingfishy.ie

Published in Angling
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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