#ANGLING - Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that there is no proposal for the extension of the salmon draft netting season.
In response to concerns expressed by the angling community and highlighted by Derek Evans in The Irish Times last week, Minister O’Dowd emphasised that conservation and management of salmon and sea trout is key to protecting our valuable natural resources.
“Recent reports that the commercial season will be extended in certain rivers are untrue and I can confirm that for the 2012 season, the commercial fishing season remains as it was in all areas, with the River Suir still on a reduced season for snap fishing," said the minister.
"I am aware that confusion can arise due to the necessary extent of regulations in place. However, I am not considering any proposal for the extension of the commercial season."
The minister reminded that Inland Fisheries Ireland is the body that enforces Ireland's "extensive" fisheries legislation.
"IFI has offices throughout the country where advice can be sought. There is also a comprehensive and regularly updated website and information is also disseminated on Facebook and Twitter," he said.
Meanwhile, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said that the legislative code is regularly updated to ensure that Ireland's fisheries continue to be protected on the basis of information from IFI’s Standing Scientific Committee and IFI management advice.
“Only rivers with exploitable surpluses are open during the spring season and no fishery is open for commercial exploitation during this time," said Dr Byrne. "Fisheries that are classified catch-and-release or closed for salmon are now protected under bye-law 897 which prohibits the use of worms and the use of any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks.
#ANGLING - Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd was on hand at the opening of the White River enhancement project in Dunleer, Co Louth earlier this month.
The €32,000 project was funded by the Louth Leader Partnership, with works were carried out by the Dee and Glyde Fishing Development Association and the Dundalk district staff of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The White River, a tributary of the River Dee, is considered hugely important as a spawning and nursery area, and it has already seen significant improvements in the levels of juvenile salmon and trout.
Instream enhancement works began in 2006, supervised by Inland Fisheries Ireland, and included the introduction of new gravel, weirs, deflectors and spawning beds which have helped the White River to achieve its potential in terms of fish numbers.
Speaking at the launch, Inland Fisheries Ireland CEO Dr Ciaran Byrne said: "The work that I have seen on the river is fantastic and a credit to all involved."
IFI assistant inspector in Dundalk, Ronan O’Brien, said project was based on restoring the natural features of the river.
He added that the programme was a great recognition of the work carried out by the Dee and Glyde Fishing Association, and that it had strengthened links with local business and development groups and could be used as a template for other projects in the area.
Seasonality, climate change and the environment were the hot topics discussed at the inaugural meeting of the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone last Thursday.
Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne hosted the forum, whose 60 voluntary members - drawn from various stakeholder groups - are is set to meet twice annually.
The day saw TV personality and keen angler Derek Davis installed as chairman of the forum, following his appointment by the Minister for Natural Resources.
Davis noted that the forum "can influence policies for the protection, management, development and conservation of this valuable resource now and for the generations to come."
In his own address to the forum, Dr Ciaran Byrne highlighted the members' collective experience in fisheries management on Ireland's inland waterways.
“A number of you have served as members of the central and regional fisheries boards, some for over 20 years," he said. "As members of the forum you have the opportunity to discuss and advise on the future of inland fisheries in Ireland. IFI looks forward to receiving your considered views on the various issues.”
In a message to the meeting, Minister Pat Rabbitte stated his belief "that the forum will provide a meaningful channel of communication between the stakeholders and management of the inland fisheries resource".
Pupils at Donard National School fended off competition from across Ireland to win a coveted prize in the Inland Fisheries Ireland 'Something Fishy' competition for 2011, the New Ross Standard reports.
Wexford footballer Brian Malone presented fifth and sixth class pupils at Donard NS with goodie bags and an award for their entry 'Something Fishy - The Musical', which features songs and dances about the ecosystem of their local River Boro.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne, who was on hand at the prizegiving ceremony at the Wexford Education Centre in Enniscorthy, commented on all entrants: “You guys are the caretakers of this environment and if you take this message with you today we will have a much better environment in 20 years’ time.”
More than 160 schools and 7,000 children took part this year in the 'Something Fishy' initiative, which is now in its sixth year of encouraging primary schoolchildren to explore different aspects of fish life.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.