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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

The scale of poaching in some Irish rivers is so great that anglers are being driven away from the sport, the Seanad has heard.

Senator Garret Ahearn raised concerns from the angling community amid a decline in the rate of prosecutions for fisheries offences in the latest figures from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

And as the Irish Independent reports, he argued that action must be taken to protect both valuable stocks of salmon and sea trout, and the anglers and clubs who fish for them.

“Many people are poaching fish from [the River Suir] and essentially getting away with it,” Senator Ahearn said. “The fishermen who fish in it every week, who catch and release, feel like they have to manage the river themselves.”

The senator added that there is a feeling among anglers that protection “is not happening to the extent it should” — though IFI insists it is working to protect national fish stocks and support the angling sector.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured a conviction against Sligo County Council for damage caused to a tributary of a river linked to a Special Area of Conservation.

The incident happened at Carraun in Corballa, Co Sligo on a stream which flows into the Killala Bay/Moy Estuary Special Area of Conservation.

It involved machinery, commissioned by the council, driving through a river bed while carrying out road improvement works nearby.

The machinery crossed the stream a number of times, despite previous instructions from IFI to use an alternative route.

Sligo County Council was fined €250, must pay costs of €1,845 and has to pay €500 to IFI in respect of the expense of assessing restorative works.

Mary Walsh, director of IFI’s Western River Basin District, Ballina, said: “This work was overseen by the council, a large public body, and the habitat damage caused by machinery traversing the stream should never have taken place.

“IFI will continue to prosecute such illegal activity in fulfilment of our remit to protect and conserve Ireland's important inland fisheries resource.”

Prior to the commencement of proposed council works, consultation took place between an IFI senior environmental officer and a representative from Sligo County Council during which IFI clearly outlined the sensitivity of the watercourse on the site, and of the pollution mitigation measures required.

Despite this, damage was done to the river bed and the banks of a tributary stream of the Newtown River in April 2023.

The case was heard at Sligo District Court on Tuesday 6 February.

Walsh added: “Public bodies, contractors and landowners need to seek all necessary and relevant information from Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works near, or on, a watercourse.

“IFI encourage members of the public to report incidents such as this, and those of water pollution, fish kills, and illegal fishing to its 24/7 phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Landowners can refer to further guidance from Teagasc on minding Ireland’s watercourses.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the outcome of its prosecution of Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water) for chemical discharges to the Ballymacraven River in Ennistymon, Co Clare in May 2023.

At Ennis District Court on Friday 16 February, Uisce Éireann was fined €10,000 and must pay €8,477 in costs in connection with the case.

The incident last summer caused the death of an estimated 2,000 fish.

Deceased species included a large number of eel, along with salmon, trout, rudd and flounder, of all ages.

IFI’s in-depth investigations led to the instigation of legal proceedings against Uisce Éireann, with court procedures concluding on 16 February.

Uisce Éireann accepted liability for discharge of deleterious matter from the Ennistymon Water Treatment Plant on two separate dates in May 2023.

Commenting on the verdict, David McInerney, director of IFI’s Shannon River Basin District said: “The impact of the discharges from Uisce Éireann’s water treatment plant resulted in a very significant fish kill over 2.6km of the river.

“It created a devastating impact on an ecosystem that supports vulnerable salmon and eel stocks. The court was told the incident was an ‘ecological tragedy’.

“It is critical that Uisce Éireann ensures that adequate systems and processes are in place to prevent any such event recurring. We welcome the improvements made to date, and future improvements to be made at this plant.”

IFI reminds the public they can report instances of fish kills, pollution, fish in distress, habitat destruction or illegal fishing by calling its confidential 24/7 number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to become or continue to be members of Fishery District Committees.

The Fishery Districts where commercial fisheries exist comprise Lismore, Cork, Kerry (SWRBD), Ballinakill (WRBD Galway), Bangor (WRBD Ballina) and Letterkenny (NWRBD).

The individuals shall be representative of one of the following groups/sectors:

  • Commercial salmon fishermen (draft net or snap net where appropriate)
  • Rated occupiers of fisheries
  • Salmon rod representatives

The primary purpose of a Fishery District Committee is to recommend the allocation of the available salmon surplus as identified by the Technical Expert Group on Salmon between the commercial and recreational sectors for those fisheries which have a surplus.

There will be one meeting per year (March/April). Expenses will not be paid.

Applicants will be assessed for suitability based on the application received and may or may not be selected to serve on the committee.

It is anticipated that this call for expressions of interest will be for the five-year period from 2024 to 2028.

Applications may be made until 5pm on Friday 8 March and further details, including how to apply, can be found on the IFI website.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) chief executive Francis O’Donnell addressed the Oireachtas on Tuesday (13 February) on the State body’s programme to mitigate barriers to fish passage on Irish rivers.

“Migratory species such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, sea lamprey, river lamprey, twaite and allis shad and European eel all make long migratory journeys to reproduce,” O’Donnell said. “However, a range of other fish, such as pike, brown trout and bream, live entirely in fresh water but make extended movements along the river system for feeding or to access spawning and nursery areas.

“Any restrictions to fish migrations may have negative consequences for their habitat use, reproductive or feeding capacity and could lead to long-term declines in their population.”

O’Donnell noted that barriers to fish passage run from “small structures such as bridge floors, culverts, sluices to larger structures such as weirs and dams”. These can impact on natural river processes, affecting temperature, flow rate and sediment transport.

IFI is mapping the extent of barriers nationwide, with more than 73,000 potential barriers identified and nearly half of these assessed.

“Of those assessed as a problem, 233 have had follow-up surveys…[which] are required before any mitigation work can be carried out,” O’Donnell said.

IFI’s National Barriers Programme (NBP), developed with the support of two Government departments, runs until 2027 with the aim of addressing water-quality pressures with mitigation works.

“The NBP has estimated that there are potentially 8,500 culverts/bridges, 1,500 weirs and 160 other structures in Irish rivers that represent a barrier to fish passage,” O’Donnell said. “Over the life of the NBP…it is expected that 257 barriers will be mitigated.”

IFI is currently working on improving fish passage at Bretts Weir on the River Nore in Co Kilkenny; Bakery Weir on the River Suir in Cahir, Co Tipperary; Pallas Weir on the River Bann; and the Dalligan Weir on the River Dalligan in Co Waterford.

Those pilot schemes are along with works at Annacotty Weir and Askeaton Weir in Co Limerick, Templederry Bridge in Co Tipperary, Castlecor Weir fish passage in Co Meath, and Bishops Stream in Co Roscommon.

In addition, O’Donnell said IFI is working with the likes of the ESB to understand the impacts of hydroelectricity on migrating salmon and eels, noting that “large barriers on the Erne, Liffey and Shannon systems have brought those populations to near extinction”.

O’Donnell concluded: “Unfortunately, the European eel numbers across Europe have been decimated and Atlantic salmon numbers returning to Ireland compared to the 1970s have been reduced by 80 per cent. The trend is getting worse and there is now a need to really deal with barriers and find solutions if we are going to save two wonders of nature that undertake what is a most amazing migratory journey in the natural world.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking submissions in relation to a proposal to restrict the commercial salmon draft net season on the Loughros Estuary (Owenea/Owentocker) in Co Donegal in 2024 to fishing between 1 and 21 July.

The proposed changes, along the lines of previous consultations, are to reflect the limited overall salmon quota available for 2024 and the number of commercial draft nets available.

An overall surplus of 304 salmon has been advised for 2024 to be divided between the commercial draft net and recreational angling sectors.

The commercial draft net season for the fishery normally opens on 12 May and closes on 31 July.

A copy of the draft proposed bye-law is available for public inspection at the IFI offices in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. It can also be downloaded from the IFI website.

Any person wishing to make observations on the proposed regulation may make submissions before 5pm on Thursday 29 February, either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the address below:

Loughros Estuary Commercial Salmon Draft Net Fishing Season 2024 Public Consultation,
Inland Fisheries Ireland,
Station Road,
Ballyshannon,
Co Donegal F94 WV76

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the first draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Kerry’s Roughty River.

‘Brown tag’ regulations come into force on the river from 15 March and will remain in place until the last day of September, when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, South-Western River Basin District director at IFI said: “The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of over-fishing puts stocks in further jeopardy.

“Brown tag measures for salmon and sea trout are required on the Roughty River to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

A total of 96 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, 24 brown tags will be selected through the first online lottery on Tuesday 27 February.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

Interested anglers can apply for the first draw until Sunday 25 February.

Successful anglers who receive the tags via the lottery system must place them on the fish along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Roughty River, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody, using single or double barbless hooks only. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Published in Angling

The new chair of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is to meet members of the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action in Leinster House, Dublin, today (Tues Feb 6).

Prof Tom Collins is heading a new IFI board. He was appointed by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, in December 2023.

The Oireachtas joint committee Cathaoirleach, Green Party TD Brian Leddin, said that “IFI is the environmental agency responsible for protecting, managing and conserving Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources”.

“The committee welcomes this early engagement with Professor Collins and looks forward to discussing the role of the chairperson, his strategic vision for the agency, and the future contributions of IFI and the board,” he said.

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

The meeting opened at 11 am in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House. and can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a new national recruitment drive to hire 52 temporary staff.

IFI’s seasonal fisheries officers and seasonal fisheries assistants are to be deployed across 15 counties from April to September.

Starting salaries of €29,053 per annum pro rata are on offer, and fisheries officers can also earn up to €3,639 extra via an unsocial hours allowance.

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI, commented: “As a key State environmental agency, enforcement of the law regarding illegal fishing, pollution and habitat destruction are a key focus for Inland Fisheries Ireland.

“We require additional temporary contract staff to support our busy annual programme of work on Ireland’s rivers, lakes and coastlines.

Research is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFIResearch is among the duties of IFI’s seasonal fisheries assistants | Credit: IFI

“We are seeking male and female seasonal fisheries officers from diverse backgrounds for a six-month period.

“People who enjoy nature and working outdoors, in all types of weather, are likely to find these jobs very appealing and rewarding.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, added: “Our seasonal fisheries assistants will conduct applied research of fish stocks, and explore environmental issues that impact on fish and their habitats.

“They will work with an experienced team of scientists and researchers in the collection, ordering and analysis of relevant biological and physical data in the aquatic environment. The roles will be mainly based at IFI’s headquarters in Citywest, Dublin.”

Those interested in IFI’s seasonal vacancies can see more information and application details on the IFI website HERE, or email [email protected] for more details.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) investigated a serious fish kill incident that occurred on 3 September 2021 at the Glore River in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

IFI’s investigation led to the instigation of legal proceedings against Uisce Éireann and court procedures concluded on Thursday 4 January.

Uisce Éireann, formerly Irish Water, has accepted liability for the fish kill, resulting from a chemical spill at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

A senior fisheries environmental Officer has inspected the treatment plant on several occasions since the fish kill.

Following an onsite meeting on 8 October 2022, a number of recommendations were made to Uisce Éireann to reduce the risk of future spills at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

Uisce Éireann were fully supportive and these measures have now been implemented.

IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it will continue to inspect the plant to ensure that all recommendations have been followed.

Further to these preventative measures, Uisce Éireann has paid costs and a financial contribution of €15,000 to go towards research for habitat enhancement.

This will be used to identify the potential for a habitat restoration project in the upper Glore River and some of its tributaries.

This project will include a detailed survey of the Glore and possibly some adjacent sub-catchments, which will provide an analysis of current river and riparian habitat quality.

Where deficiencies are identified, appropriate amelioration works will be proposed to aid in the recovery of salmon stocks in the Glore River area.

Published in Angling
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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.