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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has been awarded first prize in the ‘Leadership in Public Sector Decarbonisation and Energy Efficiency’ category at the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland’s (SEAI) 20th Annual Energy Awards ceremony recently held at the Mansion House in Dublin.

The award recognised IFI’s efforts since 2009 to improve its energy efficiency by 44.5 per cent, thanks to initiatives suhc as the installation of 18 solar PV systems, the addition of 52 electric vehicles to its fleet and the development of a national EV charging network at 32 locations to date.

Brian Beckett, director of IFI Dublin said: “We are grateful and humbled to be among Ireland’s leading businesses and State agencies in decarbonisation in Ireland today… This award recognises years of tireless effort by all of the IFI team.

“Sincere thanks and congratulations are due to all IFI staff for their drive and commitment to energy efficiency improvement and a sustainable future for all. The commitment and leadership shown by our board and senior leadership team matched by the ambition and creativity of our local and national Green Teams will ensure that we reach and exceed our decarbonisation targets to 2030 and beyond.

“We’re convinced that creativity, collaboration, partnership and innovation are the keys to unlocking a sustainable future for all and we welcome all opportunities to work with those who have common goals in this critical area.”

This year at the SEAI Energy Awards there were 40 finalists from 114 applications, who collectively reduced energy consumption by 16%, saving €50 million. The renewable energy produced by the 2023 entrants is equivalent to powering over 400,000 homes per year.

Published in News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to provide more than €1 million in new grants to support fish and their habitats in rivers nationwide.

IFI’s Habitats and Conservation Scheme funding call for 2024 is now live and expressions of interest can be made up to Friday 15 December.

Since 2016, IFI has given more than €6 million in grants to over 280 projects throughout the country under the programme.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI said: “The conservation and protection of Atlantic salmon and sea trout is an integral part of IFI’s progressive and sustainable fisheries management operations.

“This funding will improve fish habitats and increase juvenile abundance of salmon and trout. A total of €1,050,000 is being allocated in 2024.

“We are investing in transformative conservation projects that have a strong focus on outcomes.

“Priority will be given to proposals that rehabilitate damaged river habitats, improve water quality and help fish traverse physical in-stream barriers, like weirs.”

Replenishment of spawning gravels in a drained channel near Partry, Co Mayo — one of the projects supported by IFI in 2023 | Credit: IFI Replenishment of spawning gravels in a drained channel near Partry, Co Mayo — one of the projects supported by IFI in 2023 | Credit: IFI

IFI’s Habitats and Conservation Fund comprise two schemes — the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund, and the Midlands Fisheries Fund. These competitive initiatives are financed from salmon and sea trout angling and commercial fishing licences in Ireland, as well as the sale of fishing permits.

In 2023, the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund provided a total of €99,273 to 24 projects in counties Cork, Offaly, Donegal, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Kildare, Sligo, Mayo, Meath, Wicklow and Westmeath.

Up to €50,000 is available through the Midlands Fisheries Fund to support angling and sustainable development works in the midlands fisheries group permit area.

Eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to express their interest in applying for funding. Full application details and comprehensive information can be found on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

Angelwelt Berlin is the leading trade fair on the trendy topic of angling in Germany and has now established itself as the most popular meeting place for sport and leisure anglers at both national and international level in Germany.

This year will be Ireland’s fourth time attending the Angelwelt show, which is dedicated to all types of fishing — game, sea, pike and coarse — but with the main emphasis being on lure fishing in both fresh and saltwater. There will also be fly fishing and boating sections.

This promotional show has a general angling audience and provides industry members with a great platform to promote the Irish angling product to German anglers in Germany’s capital city Berlin.

For more details on the Angling Ireland stand at Angelwelt and how to secure your spot, see the Inland Fisheries Ireland website HERE.

Published in Angling

Following a competitive tender process launched earlier this year, O’Connor Sutton Cronin (OCSC) were appointed as the consulting engineers to undertake a range of technical assessments and prepare an options report for fish passage improvement works at Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River outside Limerick.

As previously reported on, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is leading the Annacotty Fish Passage Project as the State agency with responsibility for fish in rivers such as the Mulkear.

The consultants’ options report will consider all environmental and engineering circumstances that are present at the site. OCSC have undertaken a number of assessments over the last few months, with a view to preparing an options report in early 2024.

The options report will be based on several environmental and technical surveys, using a recognised decision matrix, together with a stakeholder decision matrix. The options report will be presented to the public for consideration by all stakeholders with a view to bringing a proposal forward for planning permission.

In advance of any permanent works taking place, IFI had planned to carry out temporary works during the summer with the aim of improving passage for eels and lampreys. However, high water levels hampered attempts to install these measures, and water levels remained too high since IFI received the materials.

The proposed temporary works follows advice from specialists within IFI’s research division which suggests the installation of bristle mats and lamprey tiles will help facilitate eel and lamprey passage.

IFI says it plans to install these measures when water levels are at a suitably low level to allow safe access to the weir to install the materials.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recorded two rare recaptures of tagged Atlantic bluefin tuna as the angling season for these fish nears its closure on Sunday 12 November.

The first recaptured bluefin was tagged and released originally by skipper Adrian Molloy on 2 October 2020 in Donegal Bay. Three years later, the same fish was caught again on 11 September this year off the north-east coast of Spain.

The second bluefin was originally tagged and released by skipper Tony Santry on 23 August this year off the Kerry coast and recaptured just 22 days later on 14 September off the west French coast. This Atlantic bluefin tuna had travelled a distance of 750km in three weeks, data showed.

Dr William Roche of IFI said: “Atlantic bluefin tuna are leviathans of the sea, and a bucket list species for many anglers.

“For the first time in the five years of this programme, two recaptures have been recorded — that’s two from over 1,600 fish tagged.

One of the first two Atlantic bluefin tuna caught of the 2023 Tuna CHART season, captured, tagged and released off the Irish coast in late JulyOne of the first two Atlantic bluefin tuna caught of the 2023 Tuna CHART season, captured, tagged and released off the Irish coast in late July

“To date, 1,619 bluefin tuna have been tagged by skippers along the north west, west and south coast of Ireland since the Tuna CHART programme, an inter-agency Government research initiative started in 2019.”

Recreational angling for Atlantic bluefin tuna is technically prohibited in Ireland. However, under the Tuna CHART programme, authorised charter skippers can catch, tag and release bluefin during the open season with the help of anglers as ‘citizen scientists’ on board.

This scientific tuna fishery targets the largest tuna species to collect information on their sizes, and where and when they occur in Irish waters.

The largest tuna tagged to date in the programme was 2.75m long, and weighed an estimated 372kg.

In 2022, 382 Atlantic bluefin tuna were caught, tagged, and released around the Irish coast by authorised skippers.

Skippers willingly provide their expertise to the programme and can charge anglers for bluefin tuna trips on their vessels.

Measuring, tagging and releasing bluefin tuna is carried out in the water alongside the boat, which progresses slowly at speeds of 2-3 knots, to ensure the fish remains in the best possible condition.

Bluefin are caught in area that extends from approximately 1km from the shore out to a maximum of about 20km.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has taken part in a tagging project for salmon that tracks their epic sea swim from Greenland to Europe.

IFI researcher Glen Wightman represented the agency in an EU-funded programme in the east Greenland settlement of Kuummiut, tagging salmon as they returned to their European rivers of origin.

Wrightman collaborated with scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to investigate the feeding and return migratory behaviour of young Atlantic salmon as they left the Arctic Sea.

Dr William Roche, senior research officer at IFI said: “This study comprises novel research into a fish species that’s in worrying decline. It’s being conducted because the marine phase of a salmon’s life is where knowledge of its survival is limited.

“We are making use of the strong homing trait of salmon. The aim is to fill a data gap because detailed information about salmon behaviour and migration routes in the ocean is scarce.

Panoramic view of Kuummiut settlement in south-eastern Greenland, the base location for the salmon-tagging project | Credit: Glen Wightman/IFIPanoramic view of Kuummiut settlement in south-eastern Greenland, the base location for the salmon-tagging project | Credit: Glen Wightman/IFI

“It is hoped that the scientific information gleaned will provide further clues into the complex question of poor survival of salmon at sea.

“We are seeking more data on the return journeys these salmon undertake, and the numbers that actually make it back to the rivers where they are from.”

Sample salmon were implanted with a tracking device during this pilot phase of the study and monitored rivers in Europe will be checked for returns of these particular fish.

The new programme is focused on capturing live pre-adult salmon in their feeding areas on the east coast of Greenland.

Led by DTU’s Professor Kim Aarestrup, Dr Niels Jepsen, and IFI’s Glen Wightman, it is being carried out under the Smoltrack project, coordinated by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation.

Published in Marine Science

Traditional Irish salmon flies commissioned 121 years ago for the Cork International Exhibition in 1902 will now feature in a new museum display on the same site in Cork.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), custodians of the vintage collection, released an online picture book featuring the rare fishing flies last year, as previously reported on, and has now collaborated with the Cork Public Museum to bring this exhibition to the public.

It will comprise antique fishing equipment kindly loaned by Rory O’Hanlon, digitised angling records from the Cork Trout Anglers Club and a display with information and historic photos of the 1902 exhibition and fishing on the River Lee.

Shane O’Reilly, angling advisor with IFI said: “We are delighted to join forces with the Cork Public Museum on this project and hope the general public will be hooked!

“We are making these flies accessible to new audiences, by bringing them back to the site of the original exhibition — in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park — where they were first viewed 121 years ago.

“The Cork Collection of Salmon Flies represents a rich and colourful legacy from our Irish angling heritage. These traditional flies, created with feathers, fur, tinsel and floss, are considered as masterpieces of the craft.

“Last year’s IFI digital publication of the collection generated widespread interest from fly-fishing and fly-tying enthusiasts both in Ireland, and around the world.

“Salmon have been, and remain, an iconic wild Irish fish. However, they now face many challenges to survive in Ireland.

“IFI works proactively with anglers and local communities to protect and conserve Ireland’s wild salmon, and their habitats, for the benefit of future generations.”

The exhibition was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy, in the Cork Public Museum on Thursday 26 October, where historian Dr Tom Spalding also spoke about the 1902-1903 exhibition. The collection will be hosted in the museum for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the prosecution of Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water) for a pollution incident in the Ballinagh River in Co Cavan in which 160 fish died.

Sample results taken from the water near the Uisce Éireann wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh showed high levels of ammonia — 32 times greater than expected in good salmon or trout waters.

This was the third prosecution against Uisce Éireann at this plant in Ballinagh since 2015.

A fine of €4,000, plus costs and expenses of €3079, was imposed at a hearing on the matter at Cavan District Court on 6 October 2023.

Discharge evident in the Ballinagh River in July 2022 | Credit: IFIDischarge evident in the Ballinagh River in July 2022 | Credit: IFI

IFI personnel were alerted to the fish kill on the Ballinagh River on 19 July 2022, as previously reported on

An investigation was carried immediately and samples were taken for analysis by IFI senior environmental officer Ailish Keane.

The results indicated the pollution source was direct discharge from an effluent pipe at Uisce Éireann’s wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh.

The conviction was secured under Section 171 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 – legislation regarding protection of fishing waters from harmful pollutants.

Commenting after the verdict, Dr Milton Matthews, director of IFI’s North-Western River Basin District said: “Approximately 160 fish, predominantly brown trout, perished in this incident, and that number also included some stickleback and minnow.

“High levels of ammonia in a watercourse are toxic for fish. Fish kill events such as these are extreme ecological events. They can have a severe and prolonged impact on native fish stocks due to the loss of locally adapted, genetically distinct fish populations, which may take many years to recover.

“We welcome further engagement with Uisce Éireann. This will ensure that regular visual inspections of wastewater facilities and discharge points, are conducted to minimise the risk of such pollution events reoccurring. This is especially important at times of high temperatures and low water flow.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the successful prosecuted of a man for using a barbed fishing hook in Cork.

Stephen Hackett of Leitrim Street, Cork was found guilty of using the hook, refusing to provide personal details when asked, and impeding an IFI officer.

At the hearing on Wednesday 20 September, Cork District Court was told Hackett was observed fishing with a barbed hook — prohibited under a River Lee Bye-law — at Jenning’s Pool, on the north bank of the River Lee’s south channel, on 6 August 2022.

IFI fisheries officer Stephen Kiely said Hackett refused to provide his name and address when requested to do so, and generally impeded the investigation.

Fines of €250 were imposed for each of the three offences: using a barbed hook, refusing to give a name and impeding an authorised officer.

Hackett was also ordered to pay costs of €350 to IFI. He was found guilty of two breaches of Section 301 (7) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, and one breach of the 2006 (River Lee) Bye-law No. 811.

Hackett did not appear in court.

He had also been prosecuted by IFI in July this year at Fermoy District Court, where he was fined €500, plus €350 in costs to IFI, for similar offences.

Commenting on Tuesday 3 October, Sean Long, director of the South-Western River Basin District at IFI said: “I welcome the determination in this case. Angling methods on the River Lee are tightly controlled.

“The use of triple-barbed hooks is completely banned on this section of the River Lee. There were a limited number of salmon and sea trout available to kill in 2022 - and therefore there are restrictions on the type of fishing hook that can be used.

“Single barbless hooks cause less injuries to the fish. They are easier to remove, and also reduce handling time, which can be an important factor influencing survival.

“Anglers or members of the general public can report illegal fishing incidents, or those relating to water pollution, or fish kills, to our 24/7 confidential phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is organising Ireland’s first ever stand at the Pêche Expo angling show in Belgium on the weekend of 11-12 November.

Pêche Expo is aimed at a general angling audience and is dedicated to all types of fishing, with a main emphasis on freshwater fishing such as pike, trout and coarse angling.

The primarily French-language event will be held at the Palais des congrès et centre d’expositions in Libramont in southern Belgium, at the heart of a region laced with streams and rivers and with an abundance of ponds and human-made lakes.

IFI says its “Pêche en Irlande” stand will measure circa nine metres squared and exhibitors will have their own table and seating. IFI is now seeking expressions of interest from prospective trade partners, tour operators, marketing groups, accommodation providers, fishing guides, fishery owners and more.

For further details, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling
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