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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has today announced the allocation of €50,000 to the Midlands Fisheries Fund (MFF), a funding scheme set up to support sustainable fishery development projects in the Midland Fisheries Group area.

The scheme was created in 2013 and is funded through angler contributions set-aside from the permit income received by IFI in the Midland Fisheries Group permit area. For 2016, the Board of IFI has allocated an additional €10,000 to the Fund which will be available to individuals and businesses for product development and to market and promote angling in the Midland Fisheries Group permit area.

Applications are now invited to support projects which seek to increase angler accessibility to fisheries, develop and install new fishing stands, tackle terrestrial invasive species, and to provide funding to the additional categories of product development and the marketing and promotion of angling activities in the Midlands.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The National Strategy for Angling Development has identified a number of action measures which require prioritisation. These include stakeholder engagement, sustainable development of the angling resource, marketing and promotion, and the facilitation of increased access for angling to all.

“The Midlands Fisheries Fund will allow for projects to be developed and undertaken by anglers and communities which improve their inland fisheries resource. Essentially, the money for the scheme is raised locally through the sale of fishing permits and is then injected back into the catchments, increasing revenues to communities and creating jobs. In this way, funds raised in the locality stay in the locality.”

The closing date for applications is 20th May 2016. Full details of the Midland Fisheries Fund and the application form can be obtained on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website here

Published in Angling

#Angling - The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) is undertaking research on the socio-economics of inland fisheries within Ireland, with the objective of providing evidence that will support policy decisions regarding the management of fisheries resources and angling within Ireland.

As part of that work they are currently establishing an angler survey panel. Members of the angler panel will be invited to participate in occasional short surveys to elicit their views on various topics.

The ESRI's research programme on the socio-economics of inland fisheries is financially supported by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). The data and information collected will only be used for research purposes by the ESRI, will not be shared with IFI or other organisations and will only be accessible to the researchers undertaking the analysis strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 & 2003.

Only research reports and papers, which contain aggregated summary analysis, will be provided to policy decision makers, including IFI. The ESRI will make its research papers publicly available for free from its website.

To become a member of the panel, sign up via the ESRI website HERE – it should take less than a minute.

For further information about the angler panel or the research programme, contact programme lead John Curtis at [email protected]

Published in Angling

#Angling - At a sitting of Killaloe District Court on Tuesday 5 April, Judge Patrick Durkan convicted a man of illegal fishing on the River Shannon at O’Brien’s Bridge in August 2015.

Joe Ahern of O’Brien’s Bridge, Co Limerick was found guilty of illegally fishing with prawns and was fined €750 and costs amounting to €1025. Ahern pleaded guilty to the offence and co-operated fully with the fishery officers.

Salmon angling on the River Shannon is currently permitted below O’Brien’s Bridge to Thomond Bridge in Limerick City under a local catch and release byelaw. Wild salmon must be returned immediately if caught and the use of prawns is prohibited under byelaw in the entire Shannon catchment.

These measures are present to protect returning wild salmon stocks, especially to large river catchments such as the River Shannon. The wild salmon populations in the Shannon River have declined in recent years.

In summarising his judgement on the case, Judge Patrick Durkan commented that fisheries were the greatest resource of this country and that fishery officers must be allowed to protect them.

Amanda Mooney, sirector at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in Limerick, said: “Anglers must adhere to conservation methods in place on our rivers as these measures are introduced to protect vulnerable stocks and provide an opportunity for rivers to recover.

"We need to work together to improve our stocks so that the wonderful resource can be passed onto the next generation. Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to the protection of our wild salmon stocks.”

IFI has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced the establishment of the second National Inland Fisheries Forum (NIFF).

Angling federations, groups and individuals are requested to nominate candidates for membership on the forum, established under the Inland Fisheries Act 2010 to provide a mechanism to recognise the important contribution of a wide range of stakeholders to the policies of IFI and their inputs into the sector generally.

During its first term, a specific objective of the NIFF was also to ensure that this contribution was not lost when the Regional Fisheries Boards were abolished as part of the process of establishing IFI.

The initial cycle of the NIFF was launched in October 2011 and concluded its three-year term in 2014. Following a comprehensive review of its first cycle, its structure and function has been modified to enable more effective operations.

In accordance with the provision in the 2010 Act, the minister has had an input into this review process and has signed off on the revised structure.

To recognise the special role of angling stakeholders, each of the main angling organisations has been requested to nominate two of their members to represent their interests for the duration of the second cycle of the NIFF. It is anticipated that these nominees will then be appointed to the forum by the minister.

The process of selecting the remaining members of the new forum will be managed by the Public Appointment Service (PAS) with the support of IFI. The forum shall consist of not more than 60 members.

Commenting on the revised process for the appointment of members to the Forum, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “The restructured forum provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to the development of policies in respect of the Irish inland fisheries resource.

"The combined forum membership is expected to comprise people with knowledge in the areas of recreational fisheries, environmental organisations, business, fishery owners, tourism and marketing, agriculture, aquaculture, commercial fisheries [and] heritage.

"I am confident that membership will span all appropriate sectors and regions and will lead to improved input to inland fisheries policy and future development.”

The PAS has compiled an information booklet providing additional information on the recruitment process and the next cycle of the NIFF.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has published a digest of statistics for salmon and inland fisheries in the department's jurisdiction.

The main purpose of these statistics is to give an overview of the DCAL fisheries sector in Northern Ireland. The latest available data have been drawn together from a number of published and unpublished sources.

Some key statistics from the report include the following:

  • There were 25,667 angling licences and 17,984 DCAL permits sold in 2014.
  • 1,024 rod licences and 1,013 permits were checked in the DCAL public angling estate in 2014/15.
  • There were approximately 361,000 salmon fry stocked from Bushmills Hatchery to rivers in Northern Ireland in 2014.
  • No salmon were caught in commercial fishing nets in 2014.
  • The estimated return of wild adult salmon to the River Bush in 2014 was 963 and was below the previous 10-year average (2004-2013) of 1,239.
  • The 10-year overall eel catch average in Lough Neagh (2005-2014) of 399 tonnes is 35% less than the previous ten year eel catch average (1995-2004) of 612 tonnes.
  • The eel escapement estimate for the Neagh-Bann River Basin District for 2014 was 253 tonnes and above the 200 tonnes target.

The bulletin is available on the DCAL website or from the Research and Statistics Branch, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7EG (Tel: 028 9081 6971; Email: [email protected]).

In other news, Northern Ireland's Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed a new platform designed to accommodate disabled anglers at Copeland Reservoir in Carrickfergus.

The concrete platform is built to a high specification and gives anglers who use wheelchairs close and safe access to the water.

“Angling is an integral part of our leisure offering not only for local people, but also for tourists," said the minister this week. "It is a very relaxing and peaceful way of passing time and unwinding in the open air, and I am committed to ensuring that wheelchair users have equal access to angling."

Minister Ní Chuilín said the new platform "is designed to ensure that wheelchair-using anglers can get as close as possible to the water’s edge, safely. There is also a car park located right beside it, further enhancing accessibility.

“There is a considerable disabled angling fraternity locally, with over 1,700 one-year disabled angling licences and 1,500 day permits being issued each year. This is a significant number, and I want to see even more disabled people experiencing the benefits of angling for themselves."

The new stand "offers disabled anglers another choice of location to fish, and visit the surrounding area. It brings to more than 30 the number of public angling estate locations which are accessible to anglers with a disability," the minister added.

“I commend staff in my department’s Inland Fisheries Group who have constructed the platform and I hope that it caters for disabled anglers for many years to come.”

Published in Angling

#Poaching - A Claregalway man was convicted of an illegal fishing offence at a sitting of Galway District Court recently.

Niall O’Gorman, with an address at Kiltrogue, Claregalway, was found guilty on 2 February of possession of a net and obstruction of fishery officers at Kiltrogue on the Clare River on 27 May 2015.

Fines of €500 were issued on each charge, totalling €1,000, and costs were awarded to Inland Fisheries Ireland to the amount of €600.

Judge Mary Fahy heard evidence that fishery officers on patrol in the early hours of 27 May observed the defendant in a kayak, servicing and cleaning a net, before placing it in a bag. He then proceeded to a second net, fixed in the river, where the officers approached him.

O’Gorman made an attempt to flee in the kayak, necessitating one of the fishery officers entering the water to apprehend him.

The solicitor for the defendant asked for leniency, stating that her client had made a stupid mistake, that he was of limited means and that he accepted the serious nature of the offence.

Judge Fahy said that the defendant was obviously not a teenager and had acted in a very immature way. She commented further that she had heard a number of fishery cases recently and that this was the most serious, necessitating an officer to enter the water in the early hours of the morning.

The nets were forfeited, although the kayak was returned to O’Gorman, who gave an undertaking in court not to use the kayak for anything other than kayaking in the future.

Commenting on the case, John Conneely of Inland Fisheries Ireland commended the fisheries officers involved. He said: “Protection of fish stocks is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers. Recreational angling in Ireland is worth over €836 million to the economy and supports over 11,000 jobs.

"IFI staff are committed to protecting that resource, working in difficult conditions and bad weather to do so, and their vigilance and dedication is highly valued.”

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The Clare River has unfortunately been the victim of environmental crime once again. This activity must be stopped to ensure that the important recreational amenity and its biodiversity are conserved for future generations.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced the launch of a new guide for brown trout angling on the River Annalee in the upper reaches of the River Erne system.

The Annalee River is one of the main tributaries of the Upper Erne and provides quality wild brown trout fishing over much of its 60 kilometres length. It is one of the premier trout fisheries in the area capable of producing trout up to two to three pounds in weight and has previously hosted national fly-fishing championships based on the quality of the angling available.

The new guide, which was prepared in consultation with the Cavan, Laragh and Bunnoe district angling clubs, comes as a fold-out water-resistant leaflet providing a map and associated information identifying key angling stretches, access points and relevant angling regulations for the area. It also identifies where visiting anglers may obtain permits to fish as well as providing some helpful advice regarding recommended fly patterns for use throughout the season.

The guide was recently launched by renowned local angling guide, author and fly-tier Peter O’Reilly at the Angling Ireland stand during the Ireland Angling Expo at Cloghran, Swords, Co. Dublin.

Following the launch of the new guide, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, commented: “Angling in Ireland is a huge recreation and sport with over 400,000 adults fishing our rivers, lakes and coastline each year. Tourist and domestic angling activity supports over 11,000 jobs, primarily in rural and peripheral areas, and contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually.

“The continued conservation, protection, development and promotion of the resource is fundamental to maintaining and growing these figures. IFI is committed to the National Strategy of Angling Development through which these actions can be taken, subject to funding and the support of our stakeholders. The Annalee brochure is an example of IFI working with local angling interests to ensure the wonderful amenity of the Annalee is promoted to reach its full potential in terms of the local and visiting angling in support of the local community.”

The guide is available from the IFI offices or can be downloaded below

Published in Angling
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Hello and welcome aboard this weeks edition of your maritime programme, we have music from Molgoggers, we preview the Lewis Symposium presented by MaREI – Ocean Energy; Theory, Practice and Integration hosted by the Environmental Research Institute Beaufort Building, University College Cork by visiting the Seascapes archive and hearing from Emeritus Professor Tony Lewis ....the remarkable HMS Caroline the Battle of Jutlands only afloat survivor in Belfast soon to open as a heritage visitor attraction, Fergal Keane visits the annual Angling Expo in the National Show Centre held last weekend ..... and our competition for copies of “This Is the Burren” by photographer Carsten Krieger courtesy of The Collins Press; ....First here on Seascapes to the Raidio na Gaeltachta Studios in Derrybeg near Gweedore to hear from Hugh Bonner of Mara Media who publish The Irish Skipper and host the Skipper Expo with over one hundred exhibitors in Galway next weekend on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th March at The Galway Bay Hotel...

The Winter lecture 2015/16 season of the Glenua Sailing Centre continues with a double lecture programme at the March meeting entitled: ‘The Sea From Two Perspectives’.

The illustrated lectures will take place on next Thursday 3 March (20:00hrs) at the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ringsend, Dublin. There will be an entry fee of €5 in aid of the R.N.L.I

The first lecture, “Art and The Sea - An Enduring Fascination” will be given by Jessica O’Donnell who is Collections Curator at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. Jessica is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews.

Jessica’s talk will explore how artists have been captivated by the sea from many perspectives including how the Impressionists loved portraying people at leisure by the sea; how safeguarding the freedom of the seas was represented in artworks commissioned as war time propaganda; to contemporary artists whose fascination with the sea and marine life continues to inspire.

The second lecture is entitled, “Putting Eyes In The Deep Ocean” by Dr Fiona Grant, Ocean Science & Information Services (OSIS), Marine Institute, Ireland. Fiona began her studies in geology before going on to specialise in marine geophysics and earth system dynamics. Her first job was as conservation coordinator for wild salmon and sea trout before taking responsibility for research infrastructures in the Marine Institute.

Dr Fiona Grant will focus on some of the challenges in observing the deep ocean environment, how to harness ocean energy in Galway Bay and present some of the latest results from studies in the Atlantic Ocean.....

The annual Ireland Angling Show was held in the National Show Centre in Swords in Dublin last weekend. ..........Fergal Keane went along for Seascapes.

Hi Marcus,

It's nearly 3 years since you put out a call on Seascapes to help us find people who had built IDRA 14 dinghies in the past or had plans that we didn't know about.Well, we're now coming towards the end of our project! We did meet with some listeners to your programme, who got in touch during that time and visited our project. Thought you might like to know how we're doing.

As we enter into the 70th anniversary year of the IDRA 14 Dinghy, we're delighted to be able to announce the launch date for the new wooden clinker-built IDRA 14 dinghy, being built in Clontarf, the first to be built in well over 35 years.

Look at it now............Riveting completed, floor bearers in place, spinny shute in place, foredeck on - we're ready now to put the deck on and close up the boat! :-) Find out more in our latest update.

Next to Emeritus Professor Tony Lewis of University College Cork , back in October of last year we were in Croke Park for an Ocean Energy Conference and we spoke to Tony ...

On Monday and Tuesday the Environmental Research Institute Beaufort Building hosts MaREI –The Lewis Symposium on Ocean Energy : Theory Practice and Integration at the National Maritime College of Ireland .....speakers will include Professor Tony Lewis ; Eoin Sweeney on Marine Renewables in Ireland ; Professor Stephen Salter , Emeritus Professor University of Edinburgh ; Professor Trevor Whittaker , Queens University Belfast on the Industrial History of Ocean Energy and Professor Alistair Borthwick , University of Edinburgh on tides and Tidal Power , we’ll have more detail on the speakers and topics at the Lewis Symposium and we’ll have a full report on Seascapes next week....,.

The War at Sea is rarely considered when discussing the impact of the First World War but, although it involved far fewer men on the front line, keeping the seas safe and the vital supplies flowing to feed the Army and the people of Britain and Ireland cannot be overlooked. From across Ireland over 10,000 men served in the Royal Navy, but many tens of thousands more served in the merchant fleet, continued to fish despite the hostile submarine threat, provided essential rescue services off our coasts and maintained the essential industries directly linked to the sea.

31st May 2016 is the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland, which was the most significant naval engagement of WW1. This is the chosen date to mark the contribution of all involved in war and life at sea 1914 – 1918 with a Commemoration to the Irish Sailor in the Great War. The event will be run in Belfast next to Jutland’s only afloat survivor, HMS Caroline, and will include her official opening as a heritage visitor attraction. The commemoration will connect people in maritime activity a hundred years ago with descendants, and to those engaged in similar activity today. 

 

Published in Seascapes

#WaterSafety - Shore angler Colm Plunkett, who survived a near drowning incident last August, assisted the RNLI community safety team at the Ireland Angling 2016 show last weekend (20-21 February).

Plunkett shared his experience with hundreds of fellow anglers and watersports enthusiasts from all over Ireland – and promoted the wearing of lifejackets to help prevent the loss of life along coasts, rivers and lake shores.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Plunkett was swept from rocks when he was angling near Dursey Island in Cork last August. He spent 55 minutes fighting for his life before he was rescued. He was wearing a lifejacket at the time.

“My main message is that I wasn’t lucky - I was prepared but not nearly as much as I needed to be," he said. "A splash hood on my lifejacket would have saved me from an experience somewhat akin to waterboarding. A personal locator beacon (PLB) would have brought the coastguard directly to me should I have continued out to sea. It would also have initiated a distress call if I had been fishing on my own, which I often do.

"The lifejacket saved my life; the prearranged plan with my daughter saved my life; the cell phone saved my life; the emergency services saved my life. And if through telling others of my harrowing experience, on a ‘calm’ sea, I can get other fishermen to wear a life jacket then it was an experience worth having but definitely not worth repeating."

Plunkett also suggested a prearranged plan for anyone heading out on or near the water:

  • Wear a well maintained lifejacket with crotch straps at all times.
  • No one else should enter the water in an emergency.
  • Call 112 or 999 immediately and ask for the coastguard.

John McKenna, Howth RNLI community safety officer, added: "It was fantastic to have Colm here to share his experience with other anglers. He is a very engaging speaker and he was able to offer targeted, practical suggestions to the visitors at the RNLI stand.

"We hope that it encourages people to think twice and be prepared before they go out fishing on or near the water."

The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews rescued 240 shore anglers and saved 28 lives between 2010 and 2014.

The charity is aiming to reduce coastal drowning significantly by 2024 by expanding its preventative work and launching the Respect the Water campaign, which engages with water users on how to stay safe and maintain their equipment.

If any angling, sailing or boating clubs would like a member of the RNLI sea safety team to give a sea safety presentation and carry out a free lifejacket clinic, contact John McKenna at [email protected]

Published in Water Safety

#Angling - The number of successful young anglers collecting their specimen award certificates was the highlight of the Irish Specimen Fish Committee’s Awards Day on Friday 20 February.

Held in Dublin on the same weekend as the Ireland Angling Show 2016, both events were attended by large numbers of anglers from all over the country and abroad – such as Dutch angler Henk Thuelings, who travelled from the Netherlands to collect his specimen award for a large tope taken off Wicklow.

Record fish and specimen awards were presented, and for many anglers this full-on angling weekend is now a curtain-raiser for the forthcoming angling season.

Guest speaker Jim Clohessy, the well-known angler and TopFisher.eu angling magazine editor, spoke about specimen angling in Ireland and the value that anglers add to understanding about fish and their status in Irish waters through claiming specimen fish.

In his review, ISFC chair Dr Robert Rosell highlighted that species including thick-lipped mullet, smooth hound and carp dominated in 2015 and some new rules for specimen fish claimants.

He also informed the large audience about common skate, angel shark (monkfish), undulate ray and porbeagle shark being restored to the list of eligible species in 2016 and mainly for the purposes of collecting information about these vulnerable fish species. All will be length-based specimens only and, as with the vast majority of specimen fish, all will be catch and release.

The unstinting support of Inland Fisheries Ireland was acknowledged by both speakers who recognised the importance of the funding and logistical inputs provided to the ISFC.

The awards were presented to successful anglers by Clohessy and Dr Rosell.

Published in Angling
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