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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

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

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against three men for illegal fishing offences on the River Shannon.

Two men were convicted of illegal salmon netting on the River Shannon, and another man has been convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

Damien Mallard and Calvin Hughes of St Mary’s Park, Limerick were observed by IFI officers setting a 100-metre salmon net from a boat, spanning almost the entire width of the River Shannon in Limerick city.

Separately, Ger Molloy of St Mary’s Park, Limerick was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

In the early hours of 22 July 2022, IFI officers apprehended Mallard and Hughes and seized a net which the men had retrieved and brought onboard a boat.

With the assistance of An Garda Síochána, the boat was also seized.

The case was heard at Limerick District Court on Friday 8 September this year.

The court heard how Mallard was convicted of previous illegal fishing offences, and a four-month suspended sentence was imposed for two years in October 2020. As the date of the July 2022 offence was within the two-year period of the suspended sentence, the sentence was invoked.

Taking on board the early plea, but also the seriousness of the offences, a one-month custodial sentence was imposed by the court.

Legal counsel for Mallard indicated he would appeal the sentence with general bail conditions attaching to this appeal. This has the effect of staying the operation of the District Court order until such time as the appeal is concluded in the Circuit Court.

Costs of €560 to IFI were granted.

The co-accused — Hughes, who pleaded guilty to the same illegal salmon netting offence — received a fine of €250 and costs of €250 were awarded to IFI.

Separately, in a case heard on Friday 8 September at Limerick District Court, Ger Molloy was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

The court heard how on 1 July 2022, Molloy was observed angling for and catching a salmon by rod and line in the tailrace portion of the River Shannon.

A fine of €250 was imposed, and IFI was awarded costs of €250.

Commenting on the cases, David McInerney of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI said: “The lower River Shannon is open to salmon fishing on a catch-and-release basis only. Salmon numbers in the River Shannon catchment are significantly below levels required to sustain a healthy natural population.

“Any illegal fishing puts further pressure on a very important and iconic wild Irish fish. In 1971, a total of 1.2 million wild salmon returned to Ireland. Last year, that number was just 171,697 — representing a fall of 86 per cent.”

IFI encourage the public to report incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution or fish kills to its 24/7 confidential phone line at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s West/North West team were the winners of 2023’s Annual Inter Agency Sea Angling Challenge.

Now in its 22nd year, the 2023 event took place in Clew Bay, Co Mayo on Friday 8 September with competitors representing IFI, the Marine Institute and other marine agencies.

The yearly event began in 2001 as an idea from staff of the two agencies. These friends and colleagues have been a part of the organising team since its inception, which has helped ensure participants have consistently high-quality angling options in the selected competition areas.

In addition to the relaxing hook and line fishing that takes place, the aims of the event are to provide an informal networking opportunity, increase and improve awareness of sea angling (particularly among newer staff) and provide opportunities to discuss issues within the sport.

Patricia Orme, director of corporate services at the Marine Institute said: “The annual angling challenge is a fantastic way for staff from multiple Irish marine agencies to build connections and learn more about the area of angling, all while taking part in some friendly competition. We hope to see the event continue for many more years.”

The social and educational event allows anglers to enjoy the productive marine waters off the coast of Ireland.

In recent years, teams have included current and former staff from IFI River Basin Districts, the Marine Institute and Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA). They have also been joined over the years by teams from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the Loughs Agency.

Published in Angling

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and water users on the Shannon-Erne Waterway that Inland Fisheries Ireland will be conducting a fish stock survey on Lough Garadice in Co Leitrim next week between Monday 4 and Thursday 7 September.

All nets will be clearly marked by orange buoys marked “IFI Survey”, adds the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways.

Masters of vessels and all water users should proceed with additional caution when operating on Lough Garadice during this period.

Published in Inland Waterways
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