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This week International Women’s Day is demanding a lot of attention worldwide. In the shipping industry, a campaign has been launched in the UK to achieve ‘gender balance in the industry’. Here in Ireland, sailing ladies have their WOW group – I like that description – for Women on the Water.

This week the State agency for inland waters, estuaries and angling has launched a campaign to introduce women to angling.

Angling is described as the biggest participant sport in Ireland and that includes the marine sector, my Podcast guest this week is Myles Kelly from Inland Fisheries Ireland. It has just launched its WTF project – ‘Women Try Fishing’ programme.

This will involve more than twenty events to give women the opportunity to try fishing. Renowned angler and one of the world’s leading fly casting instructors, Glenda Powell of Blackwater Salmon Fishery in County Cork will give training at various venues around the country between April and September of this year.

So, on my Podcast below Myles Kelly outlines why and how women are going to be given this exclusive opportunity – exclusive from men of course!

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Sea anglers can now play a key role in the conservation and management of marine fish stocks. A new survey programme; The Irish Marine Recreational Sea Angling Survey (IMREC), will see Inland Fisheries Ireland gather information regarding recreational catches of fish along the coast and at sea. Data collected from the survey will improve the management of stocks and support conservation efforts thereby contributing to increasing the availability of fish to sea anglers in the future.

Following new legislation from the European Commission which requires EU member states to collect and report data on recreational catches, Inland Fisheries Ireland has established this new programme which will give a clear picture of how fishing activities relate to stock levels. The sea angling survey will provide data which will inform knowledge around trends in stock levels and the sustainability of key species. 

A sea angling diary app is currently in the development stage. The app will allow anglers to share and compare catch data with fellow participants. There will also be monthly prizes for active participants.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Sea angling is an important activity in Ireland with social, recreational and economic benefits for coastal communities. There are approximately 126,000 anglers participating in the sea angling fishery in Ireland and we are now hoping they will help us establish how often people go fishing, what they catch and what they release.

This information will tell us how sea angling contributes to the economy in Ireland and how we can best manage the marine fisheries resource for all. If we have strong evidence and verifiable data around fish stocks then we can make informed management decisions, rather than having to take a worst-case view which is often what happens where there are large uncertainties in terms of data.” 

For more information about the survey programme, visit here where you can read a full FAQ guide and if you are interested in partaking in the programme you can register to be put on the mailing list.

Published in Angling
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Two men have recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal net fishing for salmon on the lower River Nore. On Tuesday, 18th of February Mr Brian Murphy and Mr Martin Barron appeared in front of judge Geraldine Carthy at Kilkenny District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation on the River Nore which occurred on the 15th of July 2019.

Fisheries Officer John Cullen outlined the facts of the case to the court and how officers used a mobile scout camera (cctv) to capture video and still images of both men using a net and a cot (small wooden boat) to illegally catch eight wild salmon. The place in which the incident occurred is a remote area on the tidal section of the River Nore, approximately eight kilometres downstream of Inistioge, Co Kilkenny.

Judge Carthy commented on how she considered the significant nature of the offence but also took into account the good character references for both defendants and the fact that they have no previous convictions. Judge Carthy imposed fines and costs totalling €1500 to each of the two men.

David Mc Inerney, Director of the South Eastern River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Our fisheries officers patrol the waterways in overt and covert operations day and night with the aim of protecting and conserving our precious salmon stocks and valuable fisheries resource using a range of technologies. This conviction highlights that illegal salmon fishing will not be tolerated and is a serious environmental crime.

The River Nore has been closed to the harvesting of salmon since 2014 and the river is only open on a catch and release basis for salmon angling since 2014. There has been a significant decline in salmon stocks in recent years and the River Nore is significantly below its conservation limit, which indicates that every effort needs to be made to conserve this fishery. ”

Published in Angling
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The first catch and release salmon of 2020 has been caught on the River Drowes in Co. Leitrim according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. Nash Mc Daid, of Ballybofey, Donegal landed the first catch and release salmon at the “point of the meadow” on the River Drowes at 2.45pm, Friday the 14th of February. The salmon, which weighed approximately 12 pounds, was caught on a Red Flying C before being released into the water. 

In 2019, the first salmon was recorded on the Lackagh River in Donegal on the 1st of January and in 2018, the first salmon was recorded on the River Drowes in Leitrim on the 30th of January. This year the first salmon caught was in Waterville in Kerry on January 25th. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland awarded €250 prize money to the angler for the first catch and release salmon of the New Year. The prize was only eligible for the release of the first salmon which was handled correctly and verified by Fisheries Officers.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “I would like to congratulate Nash Mc Daid, on the first catch and release salmon of 2020. I would urge anglers to step up their conservation efforts and engage in catch & release angling in 2020. Last year we celebrated the International Year of the Salmon and its main aim was to raise awareness of the many challenges facing salmon stocks across the Northern hemisphere. 

Salmon populations have plummeted in recent years with the number of salmon returning to Irish shores decreasing by over 70 per cent, which is very concerning. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all anglers in 2020 to ensure their own personal contribution to the conservation of salmon by practising catch and release fishing. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to support salmon conservation through research, protection, habitat conservation and development of our precious resource.” 

The River Drowes is open for fishing during the 2020 season. The regulations for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery for 2020 including the list of open, catch and release and closed rivers can be found at: https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Salmon-Regulations/salmon-regulations.html#tab2.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is also inviting the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource during the year by reporting incidents to its confidential hotline number 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Angling
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O’Sullivan’s Marine will be displaying some of the “best value” angling kayaks in Ireland at this year’s Ireland Angling Expo in the National Show Centre, Swords, Dublin on 15th & 16th February 2020.

ANGLING & RECREATIONAL KAYAKS TO SUIT ALL LEVELS AND BUDGETS

RECREATIONAL: on display

conger KayakThe Conger kayak

CONGER
The Conger is a compact single sit-on-top fishing kayak that is stable, light and easy to handle. Four internal fishing rod holders, a large storage area at the rear and 2 waterproof round hatches with bag inserts to secure your gear. The Conger kayak is a well-featured starter kayak at a very reasonable price.

Rodster KayakThe Rodster kayak

RODSTER
The Rodster is a neat compact fishing kayak that tracks beautifully through the water due to its sleek bow design and is extremely stable due to the 84cm wide hull. Equipped with a comfortable aluminium-frame raised seat and plenty of storage areas for your catch and equipment. 4 internal flush-mounted rod holders and deep fishing pod console in the centre. Hands-free rudder system available as an optional extra.

Dace pro 8 767pxThe Dace Pro

PROFESSIONAL ANGLING KAYAKS:

Professional angling kayaks on display include The Dace Pro 10’, 12’ and 14’ as well as the Big Dace Pro 13’. Packed to the gills with fishing features, and everything needed for a comfortable and productive outing for professional fishermen and women.

These kayaks are extremely well-featured and offer the perfect combination of stability, speed, manoeuvrability and straight-line tracking.

big dace pro angler 13 4Big Dace Pro Angler 13

TANDEM AND 1 + 1 KAYAKS

For those who want to share the fun, O’Sullivan’s Marine also offer the GLIDE 1 + 1, which has room to bring a small passenger in front of the paddler, along with the OCEANUS (2.5 p) and the CASTOR DOUBLE KAYAK - boasting a huge load carrying capacity of 300kg and extra-wide seating area, perfect for a fishing trip for two! 

TARPON PROPEL

Tarpon 7Tarpon 7

The Tarpon Propel is equipped with a performance-engineered pedal drive system for hands-free fishing, accessory gear tracks, adjustable seat, hand-controlled rudder and 2 flush mount rod holders. Coming in at 10.5’ long and 33 inches wide this fishing machine is ready for anything!

Come and see these and more at O’Sullivan’s Marine Ireland Fishing Expo stand!

Published in O'Sullivan's Marine

A new scientific catch and release tagging programme for Atlantic bluefin tuna will authorise up to 25 qualifying angling skippers to participate, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says.

As Afloat reported yesterday, the new Tuna CHART (Catch and Release Tagging) programme run by the IFI and the Marine Institute will open for applications on February 18th, with a closing date of March 6th.

The scientific catch and release fishery will run from July 1st to November 12th this year, and may also operate in 2021 and 2022, IFI says.

A pilot programme last year authorised 15 charter angling vessel skippers, who were trained to tag, measure and record bluefin data.

A total of 219 bluefin tuna were caught, tagged and released during the three months 2019 programme, IFI says.

“ As many as eight bluefins were tagged on one fishing trip,” it says, and “all tuna were carefully handled subject to strict guidelines set by the Tuna CHART programme and all were released alive”.

“Data from the tagging programme is being collated by the partnership, which also involves the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).

The collated data will be reported to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).

Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest of the species and frequents Irish coastal waters to feed during its annual migration through North Atlantic waters.

“ The bluefin tuna is prized by sea anglers for its power and fighting ability and is a very valuable commercial species,” IFI says.

“The core aspect of the Tuna CHART programme is the welfare and successful release of the bluefin tuna,” it says, and authorised skippers will be required to have high specification rods, reels and line in advance of the open season.

“ Data collection for scientific research is the primary purpose of this fishery and will continue to be a key requirement for skipper participation in this scientific catch-and-release fishery. Skippers will be required to collect data on every bluefin trip undertaken and each bluefin tuna they catch, tag and release,” IFI says.

It says a call for applications for the 2020 fishing season will be announced on February 18th, 2020 and the last date for the receipt of a completed application will be 13:00 on March 6th.

Applications can be made here

Published in Angling
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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the state agency responsible for Ireland’s inland fisheries, invites submissions for its new Corporate Plan 2020-2025. The consultation process is an opportunity for members of the public to have an input into the formulation of Inland Fisheries Ireland next Corporate Plan, the purpose of which is to provide a strategic framework setting out the vision, policies, values and direction for Inland Fisheries Ireland during the period 2020 – 2025.

The Inland Fisheries Act 2010 requires that Inland Fisheries Ireland shall submit a five year rolling Corporate Plan to the Minister for approval.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland has a huge jurisdiction with 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and over 5,500 kilometres of coastline. We will utilise the Corporate Plan 2020-2025 to effectively and efficiently deliver on our remit in protecting, managing and conserving our fisheries resource for the future generation. We are asking interested members of the public to submit their input into our next 5-year strategy.”

For any further information and details on how to make a submission please visit here

Published in Angling
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Anglers fishing Irish waters caught hundreds of large fish in 2019 according to the just-published Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC) report.

For the first time in many years, no new records were set but over 500 exceptionally large fish of different species were caught by anglers from venues throughout Ireland in 2019. The main species were smaller shark species like Smooth-hound and Spurdog and in freshwater large Bream and Pike dominated. All fish were caught, weighed, measured and released. From 2020 there will be a new award for the best length-based Specimen, for the fish which represents the greatest percentage of the threshold length for all eligible length-only species. 

"For the first time in many years, no new records were set"

Details of all of these fish and the current Irish record fish are in the Irish Specimen Fish Committee Report 2019, which has just been released. The Irish Specimen Fish Committee, which is supported by Inland Fisheries Ireland, is an independent all-Ireland voluntary body which verifies and records the capture of large fish caught on rod by anglers in freshwater and marine waters.

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee report is available on the ISFC website www.irish-trophy-fish.com. Hard copies of the report are available from Inland Fisheries Ireland Citywest office from Friday the 31st of January 2020.

The ISFC Awards Day, when anglers will be presented with their awards and certificates, will be held on the 15th of February 2020 in Dublin.

Meanwhile, anglers both at home and abroad will be reading the report carefully to plan their angling trips to catch the big fish in Ireland in 2020.

Published in Angling
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Inland Fisheries Ireland has launched its Sponsorship Programme for 2020 and is now inviting applications from suitable angling events and initiatives nationwide. The programme, which is one of the funding mechanisms of Inland Fisheries Ireland, awarded funding to 87 angling events and initiatives across the country during 2019, amounting to a total of €30,000 going towards supporting novice anglers and angling tourism.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “We are delighted to be able to make financial support available once again in 2020 for projects and events which will support novice and junior anglers and help grow sustainable angling tourism. Our aim is to make angling more accessible to everyone by supporting initiatives which help remove barriers to those looking to try fishing or for younger people who already enjoy the pursuit”.

The Sponsorship Programme 2019 supported 45 angling competitions which showcased Ireland’s angling offering and contribution to local economies and over 800 anglers travelled from outside Ireland to participate in these competitions. A total of 37 Coaching/ Juvenile events were aimed at novice and young anglers with a view to increasing participation in the sport and five public awareness events and angling related initiatives were supported during the past year also. In total, over 600 juvenile and novice anglers participated in these initiatives.

Eligible events and categories for 2020 are as follows (in order of priority):

  • Large international competitions held in Ireland which showcase Ireland’s angling and contributes to local economies, supporting jobs and businesses. Maximum of €3,000 per event applies.
  • Novice angler events & training courses which increase participation in angling including funding of transport hire for participants to facilitate attendance at novice angler events. Minimum of 20 novice angler participants required. Maximum of €500 per event/course applies.
  • Information dissemination/initiatives to promote fisheries awareness/conservation and protection of the inland fisheries and sea angling resource/promotion of angling as a key Irish tourism activity e.g. Production of high-quality angling promotional videos/seminars/coaching/training/workshops etc. Maximum of €1,000 per event applies.
  • Juvenile and minority angling teams representing Ireland at international events both home and abroad. Maximum of €500 per team.

Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Our 2020 Sponsorship Programme will play an important role in driving angling participation among novice and junior anglers. The Inland Fisheries Ireland Sponsorship Programme has awarded €30,000 per year over the past seven years to angling clubs and groups nationwide to help in the delivery of local angling events.

“In addition to supporting those who are casting for the first time, we also have a unique opportunity to inform novice anglers in conservation and protection of our precious wild fisheries. The Sponsorship Programme offers clubs and associations an incentive to engage overseas anglers to visit our renowned wild fisheries and to enjoy fishing here in a conservation-focused manner.”

Applications for funding from the Sponsorship Programme are now invited from angling clubs, associations or any local group organising an angling initiative. The programme will remain open for funding applications until the 14th of February 2020 with applications for equipment, staff support and biosecurity assistance available throughout the year.

Awards will be subject to budget availability and adherence to the programme requirements.

To find out more here.

Published in Angling
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The route taken by young salmon (smolts) leaving the east coast of Ireland has been discovered for the first time. Inland Fisheries Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute have revealed findings which show young salmon leaving rivers on the eastern coast travelling northwards to leave the Irish Sea, rather than south and west to join salmon on the western coast. The research was carried out as part of the COMPASS project and funded by the EU European Regional Development Fund's Interreg VA programme.

The new evidence was established after researchers tagged salmon smolts with coded transmitting acoustic tags in the Castletown and Boyne rivers in County Louth during the spring of this year. Three of these tagged salmon were picked up on listening devices in the coastal seas as they travelled northwards out of the Irish Sea towards the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the smolts was recorded in Scottish waters, some 80 kilometres north of the Inishowen Peninsula. This smolt had travelled an estimated 250 kilometres in just over a month, one of the longest distances recorded for a salmon tracked at sea en route to its feeding grounds in the North Atlantic. Two more salmon smolts were tracked as far as receivers located off the Northern Ireland coast, further confirming the northward migration of the fish through the Irish Sea. 

A salmon smoltA salmon smolt

Until now, it was unknown if juvenile salmon leaving Ireland’s east coast rivers headed around the North or South coasts to get to their oceanic feeding grounds. These first three tracked fish took a northward route from rivers on the east coast to exit the Irish Sea. These salmon also moved offshore quickly, behaving very differently from sea trout, which remained closer to their spawning rivers and swam closer to the coast and river mouths.

The tagging work was carried out by scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland (Dr James Barry) and AFBI (Dr Richard Kennedy) who tagged and analysed the movements of 130 salmon smolts as they left their rivers of birth in the spring of 2019. This work was supported by a local angling clubs, including The Dundalk and District Brown trout and Salmon Anglers, who helped to install fish traps which enabled the tagging and release of fish. A network of acoustic receivers were moored to the seabed along the coast from Drogheda to the northeast coast by researchers from IFI and AFBI, to track the tiny acoustic transmitters in the salmon as they migrated from the rivers to the open ocean.

This research is just one element of the COMPASS (Collaborative Oceanography and Monitoring for Protected Areas and Species) project, a transnational initiative which focuses on the coastal seas between Ireland and western Scotland. The project aims to deliver improved cross border environmental monitoring programmes, including research to support highly mobile protected species such as marine mammals, salmon and sea trout. This particular research package is investigating the success of wild salmon and sea trout as they migrate from river to sea, and examining where they travel to and how many of them survive before returning to Ireland to reproduce.

Commenting on the findings, Dr William Roche, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “As salmon populations are in decline across the northern hemisphere, we urgently need to establish their migration journey and identify any issues which may be negatively impacting survival along that route. This research marks an exciting milestone and it will play a critical role in supporting marine conservation efforts.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Salmon hatch in their native river, spend their juvenile life feeding in freshwater and prepare for their long sea migration before returning as adults, usually one year later to mate in their native river. Genetic analysis has shown this loyalty to their native river which can be traced back to the Ice Age.

The COMPASS project has for the first time identified the northward migration route of young salmon from some of Ireland’s east coast rivers, as they start their epic and dangerous journey to their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic Sea. Research results like these offer insights which will enable policymakers and managers to focus actions aimed at the protection and conservation of Ireland’s iconic salmon stocks, which have suffered considerable decline over the past decades. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue in its research efforts, nationally and internationally, to support the conservation of our salmon stocks which are threatened by current and increasing threats posed by a changing environment.”

Dr Robert Rosell, Principal Scientific Officer for freshwater fish at AFBI said: These observations are an exciting first for long-distance tracking of individual young salmon at sea. We are now in a position to carry out follow up studies to find out much more. These results will optimise the placement of further detection equipment and add information, for instance on survival rates, for further releases of tagged fish. Now that we know where to look, advancing technology and longer battery life tags may soon give us not just the outward journey, but also detail of the routes taken by adult fish coming back to spawn.

Published in Angling
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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