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Displaying items by tag: Lough Sheelin

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against three men in two separate cases of illegal angling on Lough Sheelin.

Jason Bennett of Blue Ball, Co Offaly and Thomas McCarthy of Tullamore, Co Offaly were prosecuted for trolling — where a fishing line is drawn through the water behind a boat — outside of the permitted season.

Separately, Marius Sarauskas of Navan, Co Meath was prosecuted for obstructing IFI officers while they were attempting to issue him with a fixed-charge penalty notice (FCPN), or fine, of €150 for illegal trolling on Lough Sheelin.

Lough Sheelin, bordering counties Cavan, Meath, and Westmeath, attracts anglers nationwide and internationally and is a famed wild brown trout lake.

It is illegal to troll on Lough Sheelin between 1 March and 16 June, a ban introduced to help conserve fish stocks.

Mullingar District Court heard how Bennett and McCarthy were offered the opportunity to pay a fine of €150 — issued in lieu of court proceedings — for the alleged offences at Clareisland, Co Westmeath but did not do so.

Both men failed to have a midland permit required to fish on Lough Sheelin at the time of the incident on 3 June 2023.

A fine €500 was imposed on both defendants, with costs of €1,053 also charged to each man, in court on 26 January this year.

A third conviction was secured at Cavan District Court on 2 February where Marius Sarauskas was convicted of obstructing fishery officers at Kilnahard, Co Cavan.

IFI officers were attempting to issue him with a fine for illegal trolling on Lough Sheelin on 13 May 2023.

Sarauskas was fined €400 and must also pay €1,642 toward the costs of the case.

David McInerney, Shannon River Basin District director at IFI said: “These cases highlight the seriousness of failing to comply with angling regulations, and of obstructing fishery officers while doing their work.

“It also serves as a reminder that fixed-charged penalty notices are issued in lieu of court proceedings, and failure to pay these fines can result in court convictions.

“Angling rules must be obeyed to support the management and protection of the unique Lough Sheelin fishery. In general, compliance among anglers in Lough Sheelin is high.”

Published in Angling

A survey of Lough Sheelin anglers has found that 94 per cent are now releasing more of the trout they catch back into Lough Sheelin than they did when they started fishing.

The Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) research involved 132 participants, and more than half of these had over 25 years’ experience fishing for wild brown trout in the lake, which borders counties Cavan, Meath and Westmeath and attracts anglers nationwide and internationally.

Catch-and-release methods ensure that trout stock have a greater chance of survival within the freshwater lake.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “The trends, over the four decades studied in the research, were mostly positive regarding the abundance and size of trout in the lake and its ecosystem.

“Respondents commented they now believe the lake is currently fishing well.

“However, some expressed concerns about threats to Lough Sheelin’s trout stocks, including pollution, pressure from angling activity, poor water quality and protection of fish.

Shore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFIShore angling at Lough Sheelin | Credit: IFI

This research highlights the growth in awareness of fish conservation among anglers.

“Seasoned fishers on Lough Sheelin have a deep understanding of the lake’s surrounding ecology that’s been developed through long-term interactions with the natural environment.”

The research used a method developed by IFI called Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators (FLEKSI).

It is designed to track environmental impacts and changes in fish stocks through local information sources by asking anglers about different aspects of the fishery now, compared to when they started fishing on the lake.

Engaging Ireland’s anglers as citizen scientists is now an important element of research programmes at IFI, Dr Gallagher said.

“Their very important contribution can help us to fill gaps in knowledge about the history of fisheries, and to develop sound, evidence-based management strategies,” he added.

Researchers at IFI have expressed their thanks to all local anglers who participated, and to the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association.

The survey findings are available to download HERE.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is launching a new survey that will tap into the knowledge of trout anglers in Lough Sheelin.

The survey will use a method developed by IFI called FLEKSI — Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators — which will help to track ecological changes through local knowledge.

This new survey method features questions for anglers about their trout catch and about different aspects of the fishery now compared with when they started fishing on the lake.

The state agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish, habitats and sea angling resources says that this accumulated local ecological knowledge is valuable, and has potential for citizen science that can provide important insights for fisheries management into the future.

Wild brown trout are well-known to feed opportunistically on seasonal gluts of prey, especially swarms of insects, such as mayflies, midges and sedge flies.

To select artificial flies and lures that ‘match the hatch’ — mimicking prey that trout are feeding on — trout anglers closely observe the lake environment and its wildlife throughout the angling season.

Dr Samuel Shephard, a senior research officer with IFI and one of the developers of the FLEKSI method, said: “We know how important anglers are as stewards of our fisheries resource and how attuned they are to changes in the lake environment from year to year.

“Anglers develop in-depth knowledge about their local lake fisheries over their angling career which can provide an important resource for fisheries science.

“With this new survey we want to use this unique insight to help track changes in Lough Sheelin’s trout stocks and ecosystems.”

Lough Sheelin in Co Cavan is one of Ireland’s most important wild brown trout fisheries, with a history of dramatic environmental changes over the last 40 years.

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

Each participant also has the opportunity to enter into a prize draw for angling tackle, with one €200 voucher and two €100 vouchers to be won.

If you fish for trout on Lough Sheelin, please take the opportunity to share your knowledge via the FLEKSI survey website HERE.

Published in Angling

The number of drowning tragedies around Ireland this week has risen to six after the deaths of a man in his 60s and a teenage boy.

As BreakingNews.ie reports, the man was recovered unconscious from the water at Dollymount Strand in north Dublin yesterday afternoon (Friday 23 July).

Despite the vest efforts of lifeguards and off-duty medical personnel, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Elsewhere, a 15-year-old boy rescued after getting into difficulty in Lough Sheelin on Tuesday (20 July) died in hospital on Thursday evening (22 July).

Their deaths bring the toll of drownings this week on the island of Ireland to five, following incidents in counties Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh and Down, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted three businesses and landowners in the Lough Sheelin and River Camlin catchments between May and September 2019, for the discharge of harmful substances to nearby watercourses.

In June, Kiernan Milling of Granard, Co Longford was convicted in Longford District Court for the discharge of effluent to the River Camlin catchment.

Judge Hughes ordered the payment of €2,441.65 in fines and costs, for breaches under the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.

On 23 July, in Virginia District Court, Mr Patrick Kiernan was convicted and ordered to pay €2,900 in fines and costs, for the discharge of effluent to the Kildorragh River in the Lough Sheelin catchment.

A third conviction was secured by IFI in Virginia District Court in September 2019.

Mr John Lynch, Mountnugent, Co Cavan was ordered to pay €2,500 in fines and costs for allowing the discharge of deleterious matter into the Schoolhouse River, also part of the Lough Sheelin catchment.

In a fourth case in May 2019 at Longford District Court, Judge Hughes disposed of a prosecution by IFI against Mr Derek Moorehead in relation to discharges to a tributary of the Camlin River and ordered Mr Moorehead to pay €500 to a wildlife charity.

Lough Sheelin is a well-known wild brown trout fishery in the Great Western Lakes and one of the most important brown trout angling locations in Ireland, while the River Camlin is an important spawning and nursery location for Lough Ree brown trout.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Pollution events in the spawning and nursery tributaries along these catchments can threaten indigenous fish populations. The maintenance of the aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect and conserve this natural resource to ensure its sustainability into the long term.

“Angling for brown trout in lakes in the Inny catchment and Lough Ree generates important economic activity for rural communities and any impact on fish populations in the area may also have negative impact in this regard.”

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to a proposal to introduce a bye-law defining a closed season for angling for any species on Lough Sheelin in the Shannon River Basin District (No 8 District).

The proposal currently under consideration is to seek the Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to introduce a bye-law on Lough Sheelin to close the lake to angling for any species from 13 October to the end of February in the following year.

IFI may, as part of the process, arrange a public consultation meeting if deemed necessary, but all submissions must be received in writing and will be published on the IFI website.

Submissions may be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to:

The Director,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Ashbourne Business Park,
Dock Road,
Limerick
V94 NPEO

The public consultation period will run for another three weeks with the closing date for receipt of submissions set at 5pm on Wednesday 16 March.

In other angling news, the River Feale (including Rivers Galey and Brick) will be open for salmon fishing on from next Tuesday 1 March till midnight of Friday 30 September.

Under the salmon tagging regulations, in 2016 the River Feale is designated as a 'brown tag' fishery. The brown tags for the River Feale bear the code B3.

Anglers must affix a brown tag along with a blue tag to any salmon which is retained. This means that salmon retained on the River Feale will have two tags attached.

Brown tags will issue from IFI officers only for the 2016 season. Please ring 087 763 9236 to arrange to meet and receive your first brown tag, as well as any additional tags needed (upon verification that the previous tag has been used, i.e. a fish has been caught and recorded in the logbook).

Only one brown tag will be issued at a time to each angler. If an angler has used their brown tag or doesn’t have a brown tag in their possession to use then they must fish by catch-and-release methods (single barbless hook and no worms).

Brown tags will continue to be issued until the angling quota is reached. National regulations apply and are available in the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout leaflet.

For any queries refer to the relevant IFI webpage or contact the Limerick office at [email protected] or 061 300 238.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Suggestions that Lough Sheelin may be kept open to all angling over the winter months have been criticised by the local trout protection association.

As Cavan's Anglo-Celt reports, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had proposed the idea of keeping the lake open beyond the end of the trout angling season, which closed last Monday 12 October, during discussions with clubs in recent months over new bye-laws for the Shannon Basin.

But Michael Callaghan of the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association says his group "would be totally opposed to it because we feel it would impinge on our trout stocks. While people might be targeting pike, they will catch trout."

Commenting at last weekend's season-closing trout event that attracted more than 240 anglers to the lake, Callaghan said proposed new bag and size limits were changes "we can live with" but winter angling has been proscribed in the area for more than 60 years.

"From our perspective, we don’t want to see any change in that," he added. "It would have an enormous negative impact on the wild trout population.”

The Anglo-Celt has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

Irish Fishing industry 

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