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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

#Angling - An international fisheries biologist has suggested a novel approach to boosting numbers of wild Atlantic salmon in Irish rivers — by moving wild fry from more abundant areas to weaker spots within a catchment.

Dr Kyle Young, a research associate from the University of Zurich, was recently invited to give a presentation as part of the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) Research Seminar Series, at which he outlined his proposal for translocation of salmon fry.

Natural survival bottlenecks are experienced by Atlantic salmon through each stage of its lifecycle, from egg to fry, fry to parr, parr to smolt and so on, he outlined. Under natural conditions, the vast majority of wild salmon fry do not survive to become parr.

These so called “doomed majorities” can be present in sections of rivers with an initial abundance of emergent salmon fry, whose subsequent population size is constrained by density-dependent mortality and by the carrying capacity of the habitat.

Dr Young proposes that such fry could be translocated from these areas to low or non-productive sections of the same river where suitable habitat is present, in an effort to potentially boost the overall production of native wild salmon populations.

This approach may minimise the unintended negative consequences of more conventional salmon stocking programmes where wild salmon broodstock are taken from spawning areas and eggs fertilised in the hatchery.

Hatchery-origin fish are also typically less well-adapted to thrive than their wild compatriots and the overall fitness of the wild component of a population may be compromised through lower overall survival, interbreeding and competition for resources with stocked fish.

IFI’s head of R&D Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Young to our headquarters in Citywest to further explore the potential of this novel proposal to boost wild Atlantic salmon populations.

“This iconic species is of both major conservation and socio-economic importance to Ireland. Although wild salmon are widely distributed in Irish freshwaters, their long-term sustainability remains under continued threat from a variety of factors. These include habitat degradation, issues related to aquaculture, oceanic and climatic change, pollution, illegal fishing and over-fishing.”

Following the seminar, Dr Young visited the National Salmonid Index Catchment (NSIC) at the River Erriff, the Galway Salmon Fishery and the Cong hatchery facility to further discuss his theorised approach to salmon stocking with IFI management, field staff and researchers.

IFI are discussing the possibility of undertaking experimental trials with this novel approach to boost juvenile salmon production upstream of their trapping facilities in the Erriff catchment.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has spoken out over anglers' fears of the threat of pike to wild brown trout numbers.

Earlier this week, the Connacht Angling Council launched a campaign and online petition in an effort to provoke action its members argue is necessary to protect brown trout numbers from “predator” pike in Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and other lakes in the region.

However, in a statement released yesterday (Thursday 21 September), IFI said it was “regrettable that stakeholder groups are campaigning and taking unilateral action”.

The fisheries body argues that the main representative groups for both trout and pike angling are “already part of the inclusive review process”, and gave oral submissions earlier this year as part of last winter’s public consultation on pike management in wild brown trout fisheries, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

“At this time, no conclusions or recommendations have been made. It is important that the [Management of Pike in Designated Wild Brown Trout Fisheries Policy] Review Group, with inputs from all stakeholders, is facilitated in completing its work,” the statement added.

“Given the strongly held views of the two angling stakeholder groups involved, trout anglers and pike anglers, it is IFI’s view that consensus will only be achieved if representatives from both groups participate in a constructive and respectful way in the current process, and away from mainstream and social media.”

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is currently carrying out a fish stock survey on Lough Ennell, near Mullingar, to assess the current status of the fish populations in the lake.

The survey takes place from today (Tuesday 19 September) till the Friday (22 September) and will involve netting throughout the lake undertaken by IFI staff from Limerick and research staff from Citywest headquarters crewing a total of two boats.

It’s expected that the survey will provide a range of information on the fish stocks in the lake, such as size distributions of fish captured, age and growth information for all species, diet of selected species, and catch per unit effort (CPUEs) for each fish species.

Samples for genetic analyses of brown trout and pike will also be taken. The information collected will assist IFI in managing, conserving and monitoring any changes in the fish stocks of the lake.

The survey crews will be very visible on the lake and all sets of nets will be marked with distinctive buoys labelled ‘IFI Survey’. Any anglers or other lake users are asked to be vigilant if out and about on the lake to avoid snagging in the nets.

Further details on the background of this survey are available on the IFI website.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Wild brown trout in Connacht lakes face extinction due to unchecked numbers of pike, local anglers fear.

According to Galway Bay FM, the Connacht Angling Council says stocks in Lough Corrib and Lough Mask are among those under threat unless measures such as a closed season for angling and a pike cull are introduced.

Ahead of its ‘Pike are Predators – Save our Wild Brown Trout’ campaign launch this Wednesday 20 September from 8pm at the Boat Inn in Oughterard, the council has launched an online petition in the hopes of persuading Inland Fisheries Ireland to take action against the “predator” species.

Published in Angling

#FishKill - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has expressed disappointment at the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s water quality review.

According to the EPA report, published yesterday (Thursday 31 August), the total number of reported fish kills in 2013–2015 was 97 — an increase in fish kills compared to 2007–2009 and 2010–2012.

In several instances of fish kills, the exact cause was unknown and several influences may have played a part.

IFI has cautioned against singling out any particular sector for the standard in water quality across Ireland’s river basins and lakes, backing the EPA’s findings that “multiple factors” are at play.

“There were 31 separate fish kills across the country last year, but just eight of those were directly attributable to agricultural activities,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland is grateful to the farming community for their continued consideration and vigilance. Good farmyard management can help to prevent accidental runs of polluting substances and protect the local environment.”

In addition to the agricultural-related kills, two fish kills were as a result of municipal works and one by industrial works.

In four instances, the exact cause of the fish kill was difficult to ascertain while 16 incidents of fish kills were as a result of disease and natural causes.

IFI carried out over 22,000 environmental inspections in 2016 across industrial, forestry, engineering, water treatment, farmyards and wind farms sites to help identify any risks and prevent damage to the local aquatic habitat.

“From an ecological and angling tourism perspective, our rivers and lakes are vital national resources,” said Dr Byrne. “It is essential that we protect and conserve these assets and water quality has a significant impact on fisheries habitats and populations.”

Published in Angling

#PinkSalmon - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to anglers and the general public to remain vigilant and report the presence of any Pacific pink salmon in Irish river systems.

To date, 30 pink salmon have been recorded in nine Irish rivers since the first catch was reported on 27 June from the Galway Weir fishery.

One of the most recent captures of pink salmon was a mature male ready to spawn on the River Erriff in Co Mayo.

This fish was caught on 9 August in Ireland’s National Salmonid Index Catchment, where a wide range of scientific research and monitoring activities on resident salmonid populations is undertaken.

Catches of pink salmon have also been reported on rivers including the Foxford Fishery in Co Mayo, the Coolcronan Fishery on the River Moy, the Galway Fishery on the River Corrib, the Cong River on the River Corrib and the Drowes and Crana Rivers in Donegal.

The most recent catch was on the Owengarve River in Mayo on 10 August.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, pink (or humpback) salmon are a migratory species of salmon, native to river systems in the northern Pacific Ocean and nearby regions of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

The species also has established populations in rivers in northern Norway and in the far northwest of Russia, originating from stocking programmes undertaken in this part of Russia.

In Ireland, there is no licence to farm Pacific pink salmon. The appearance of the species is of concern to IFI as it may impact Ireland’s indigenous Atlantic salmon populations in the future.

The potential impact of pink salmon is unclear at present but these fish may introduce parasites and pathogens not present in native salmonid fish.

Interbreeding with Atlantic salmon is unlikely as pink salmon spawn in late summer whereas Atlantic salmon spawn in winter. However, competition for food and space in nursery areas between juvenile pink and Atlantic salmon is possible.

IFI is appealing to anglers to report catches of pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s 24 hour confidential hotline number (1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24). As these fish die after spawning, some dead specimens could also be encountered along Irish rivers.

Anyone who catches a pink salmon is asked to:

  • Keep the fish and do not release it back into the water (even in rivers only open for catch and release angling).
  • Record the date & location of capture, length and weight of fish.
  • Tag the fish and present it to IFI and a new tag will be issued to replace the tag used.
  • Take a photograph of the fish.
  • Report it to IFI’s 24-hour confidential hotline without delay.

Collection of the fish will then be arranged for further examination. This will help establish the abundance and extent of distribution of the species in Irish waters.

IFI has also developed a Pink Salmon Factsheet and Identification Flyer to help anglers identify the fish.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Sean Kyne TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, has today (Wednesday 9 August) welcomed a new €2 million funding call from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) for angling projects and conservation initiatives.

The funding call, which consists of three separate funding streams, will help ensure that Ireland’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced into the future.

The 2017 IFI funding call is made up of the following funds:

“As minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, I have ensured that significant funding under the National Strategy for Angling Development was available from my Department in 2017 to help Inland Fisheries Ireland develop a wide ranging investment initiative,” said Minister Kyne. 

“I welcome the fact that the funding programme is rooted in community-led actions and I support Inland Fisheries Ireland in its enhancement plans. I also want to encourage angling bodies, community groups and local authorities to take up the funding opportunity and meet the development challenge at local, regional and national level.”

IFI is inviting applications for funding for projects across a number of areas, from fisheries habitat enhancement and sustainable development works to marketing and promotional projects for angling. 

Applications are invited from groups, associations, clubs, local authorities or other appropriate bodies looking to improve Ireland’s fisheries resource.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “Today’s announcement sees Inland Fisheries Ireland make over €2 million available to communities nationwide, for projects which will help contribute to an accessible and sustainable world class inland fisheries and sea angling resource for all. 

“We want to ensure that we continue to invest in conservation, while also developing our angling offering in Ireland. While the National Strategy for Angling Development funding stream focuses on improving angling access with a view to attracting more domestic and overseas anglers to the pursuit, the Salmon Conservation Fund and Midland Fisheries Fund re-invest the contributions of anglers into valuable initiatives which a view to promoting the recovery of salmon stocks and habitats and supporting sustainable development works in the Midlands respectively.”

IFI will hold regional information workshops for those interested in applying for funding with a view to giving participants a better understanding of the various funding streams and how they can apply via an online system. 

The workshops will take place at the following locations and dates (7pm each date unless otherwise stated):

  • Tuesday 29 August - Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
  • Wednesday 30 August - Castle Hotel, Macroom, Co Cork
  • Thursday 31 August - Maldron Hotel, Southern Ring Road, Roxboro, Limerick
  • Monday 4 September - CityNorth Hotel, Gormanston, Co Meath
  • Tuesday 5 September - Great National Hotel, N26 Dublin Road, Ballina, Co Mayo
  • Wednesday 6 September - Menlo Park Hotel, Headford Road, Co Galway
  • Tuesday 12 September - Harvey's Point Country Hotel, Lough Eske, Donegal Town
  • Thursday 14 September - Athlone Springs Hotel, Monksland, Athlone, Co Roscommon
  • Tuesday 19-Thursday 21 September (all day) - National Ploughing Championships, Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly

Members of the public who will be attending the workshops are asked to RSVP to [email protected], indicating which workshop they will be going to along with their name and contact details.

The closing date for applications to IFI’s 2017 funding call is Friday 13 October. For more information and to apply, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

#FishKill - A car tyre blocking a sewer led to a major fish kill on the River Tolka in West Dublin this week.

According to TheJournal.ie, as many as 500 fish were killed over a 3km stretch of the waterway between Mulhuddart and Blanchardstown after the blockage caused a manhole cover to overflow into the river.

Local anglers reported the incident to Inland Fisheries Ireland on Tuesday evening (18 July), as RTÉ News reports.

Since then, local angling shop proprietor Derek Talbot has described it as an “absolute disaster” for West Dublin’s angling community.

The Tolka previously suffered an extensive fish kill almost exactly three years ago, affecting thousands of fish downstream from Finglas Road in Glasnevin.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Young people from Darndale and Whitechurch in Dublin were among the first groups to get out fishing as part of the Dublin Angling Initiative’s 2017 summer season. 

Sphere 17 Youth Services from Darndale in North Dublin took a Fish & Trips charter boat for a few hours of sea angling.

The group spent the evening learning how to fish beside Lambay Island, catching pollock and mackerel — and while fishing they also reported seeing plenty of local birds and seals, as well as wallabies and deer on the island.

The fishing trip was one of six over the past month with the group also enjoying lessons in coarse and game fishing.

Meanwhile, Southside youth group Whitechurch Youth Services were taken to Courtlough Fisheries in Balbriggan where they were coached in bubble and fly fishing for trout. Participants learned about fish handling and catch and release fishing.

In addition to fishing lessons and field trips, Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Dublin Angling Initiative (DAI) has also been attending community events with a view to introducing young people to the fisheries resource in their own locality. 

At the recent Chapelizod Community Festival, 16 young people between the ages of 10 and 15 enjoyed an environmental and history lesson on the River Liffey that runs through their community from fisheries staff. 

That was followed by a more practical session of sampling and identifying invertebrates, plus an opportunity to examine juvenile trout and salmon taken from the river before being safely released again, as well as a fly fishing lesson.

“Angling is a hobby that can be enjoyed in an urban location such as Dublin at any age or ability,” said DAI co-ordinator Oisin Cahill. “We hope that the young people who participate in the programme and who are introduced to fishing will continue to enjoy it into later life.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the DAI should contact Oisin Cahill at o[email protected] — enquiries are welcome from any groups or individuals interested in the programme, and availability will be on a first come, first served basis.

Published in Angling

#Jobs - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking a Head of Human Resources to be based at its headquarters in Dublin’s Citywest.

Reporting to the CEO, the successful candidate would be responsible for the management and direction of IFI’s Human Resources Division, for the achievement of functional targets and business objectives, and for the strategic development and management of key areas to support IFI in achieving its strategic corporate goals.

This includes management of its human resource assets, and organisational development/optimisation through the identification and implementation of progressive, people-orientated development policies.

This position requires an enabler of change, who will be responsible for the leadership of the strategic HR function within IFI and the implementation of a diverse range of HR programmes. 

IFI is looking for a practical and pragmatic HR practitioner with a track record of influencing and operating at a senior level, delivering a professional, results-focused HR service in a unionised environment, combined with experience of negotiating the complexities of transformational change.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 1 August. Full details of the role are available on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Jobs
Page 12 of 26

Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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