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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system, which started in 2001, can be improved and modernised.

It is especially keen to hear from salmon and sea trout anglers, angling clubs, commercial fishermen and those businesses that distribute salmon and sea trout licences, such as fishing tackle shops.

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was set up 20 years ago to record the issuing of wild salmon and sea trout licences, gill tags and logbooks to both recreational anglers and commercial fishermen and to process details of fish catches on a database for further analysis.

It was part of a series of measures introduced to help with the management and conservation of Ireland’s wild salmon and sea trout populations, which have been in decline.

Figures from the 2020 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Statistics Report show that 14,138 salmon and sea trout licences were sold to recreational anglers in the state last year, which were a mixture of virtual licences sold online and hard copy licences sold over the counter in shops. In addition, 78 public commercial licences were made available to commercial fishermen in 2020.

IFI is now carrying out a review of the whole tagging system, to see how it can be made more user-friendly in the future and to ensure that it can provide the agency with real-time, accurate data to assist with the protection, management and conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, said:“The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme was first introduced two decades ago and since then, we’ve seen a seismic shift towards buying and selling online, with many technological advances along the way that we’d like to harness.

“As we’re undertaking a review of the tagging system, we see this as the perfect opportunity for the public, especially those involved in the angling sector, to have their say on the management of how licences, tags and logbooks are issued and distributed in the future. In other words, how can Inland Fisheries Ireland make the tagging system as user-friendly as possible in the future and a better service for all?”

The public consultation for the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme closes at 5pm on Wednesday 1 December. Submissions can be made via a short online survey.

Alternatively, written submissions can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Wild Salmon & Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Consultation, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, D24 CK66.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a public consultation on the proposed introduction of a conservation byelaw prohibiting angling for Arctic char.

The glacial relict fish species is native to Ireland and is currently classified in the Irish Red Data Book as “vulnerable”.

This is due to a range of anthropogenic and environmental pressures such as water abstraction, eutrophication, climate change and introduction of non-native fish species.

The proposal currently under consideration is:

to request the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, to introduce a conservation byelaw prohibiting any person from taking, or attempting to take, an Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus), by means of any fishery engine or rod and line from the waters of the State and to prohibit killing, retention or possession of Arctic Char.

All submissions must be marked ‘Public consultation - Proposed prohibition of angling for Arctic Char’ and must be received in writing by 5pm on Tuesday 16 November.

Written submissions can either be emailed to [email protected] or can be posted to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Station Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, F94 WV76.

All valid submissions will be published on the Inland Fisheries Ireland website at www.fisheriesireland.ie

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging salmon and sea trout anglers to return their angling logbooks, setting out their fishing and catch record, and any unused gill tags from 2021 licences.

Under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers can return these in one of three ways:

  • Using the postage pre-paid business return envelope that was supplied at the time of licence purchase (preferred option).
  • Posting the logbook and unused gill tags to the IFI office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to [email protected] (Please scan all sides of documents, including continuation pages, to ensure that the licence names and number can be correctly linked to the logbook.)

On average, 70% of anglers in Ireland return their logbooks and these returns provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers in Ireland are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office of Inland IFI within seven days of licence expiry and no later than next Tuesday 19 October.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) harvested, immediately on landing. hey must enter details of their catch and/or gill-tag used into their logbook.

Questions or queries can be directed to sal[email protected] and IFI says it will respond as quickly as possible.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland has expressed concern over a shark carcass that was found in the River Erne in Co Cavan earlier this month, as BBC News reports.

The remains of what’s thought to be a small spurdog shark were found at Belturbet on Friday 17 September.

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources believes the shark was caught at sea and later dumped in the river.

“The incident is a cause for concern for Inland Fisheries Ireland as the body advocates a ‘catch and release’ approach with shark species,” it said.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that it is seeking a judicial review into the granting of an aquaculture licence for Atlantic salmon at in Bantry Bay.

As the matter is due before the High Court tomorrow, Tuesday 28 September, and the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats says “it will not be possible…to make any further comments at this stage in the process”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a licence was granted by the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board this summer — following a protracted appeals process over several years — to Mowi Ireland for an 18-pen facility at Shot Head in Co Cork.

Published in Aquaculture

Two men in Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and have been ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Ernestas Gaska, with an address on Riverside Drive, received a €300 fine following his conviction at Dundalk District Court on Thursday 2 September.

Also in Dundalk District Court on the same date, Arturas Bagvilas, with an address on Bothair Na Carraig, received a €300 fine following his own conviction.

IFI fisheries officers — who had been on routine patrol in the area of Drumcah Lough, some 8km west of Dundalk — outlined the facts of the case before Judge Eirinn McKiernan of how Gaska and Bagvilas had been observed in the act of illegal fishing on the lake, taking and killing pike on Sunday 11 October 2020.

The pair’s boat was seized and as a statutory consequence of their conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the vessel is now automatically forfeited.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019.

It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

Published in Angling

Waterford inshore fisherman Sean Doherty will share his knowledge of eels with primary school children in Passage East, Waterford to mark World River Day this week.

The students will be given a demonstration on nets and eel tagging at Cheekpoint harbour, where the rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir - the so-called “three sisters” – meet.

They will also participate in a search for eels under stones and will be shown how eels are released back into the water, according to Coastwatch coordinator Karin Dubsky.

World Rivers Day takes place annually on the fourth Sunday of September, but this event is being held on Thursday to allow students to mark the occasion.

World Rivers DayWorld Rivers Day

It is being hosted by Coastwatch and Inland Fisheries Ireland, with the support of the Local Authorities Water Programme.

The focus is on eels, as they are now a “red-listed” species at risk throughout Europe, due to a collapse in numbers, Dubsky said.

“All eel fishing in the Republic of Ireland has been closed for a number of years,” she said.

Pupils will hear how the “diachronous” species spawn in the Sargasso Sea and how they arrive on European shores where they mark several live stages.

“We will look at where eels live, monitoring and what might be done to restore eel habitat and increase survival in Ireland,” she said.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced details of 31 locations prioritised for river habitat enhancement works in the wider Lough Corrib catchment area.

Each of the 31 river channels has been prioritised for enhancement works based on its hydromorphological condition, which considers how far the state of the river had departed from its natural condition.

The prioritisation follows extensive consultation by the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats with stakeholders, including local angling clubs, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Office of Public Works.

In addition to surveys of the river channels, a review of the physical and ecological characteristics of the watercourses in the catchment were carried out, including water quality and fish status analysis.

A high priority was given to channels with moderate and good water quality; as well as those with low fish status.

Speaking about the announcement, Barry O’Connor, director of IFI’s Development Programme, said: “Following significant research and consultation by IFI, this prioritisation list of 31 river channels sets out where the most urgent habitat rehabilitation works are required in the Lough Corrib catchment area, and will allow us to focus our resources on the areas that are in most need of help.

“This is in addition to the annual maintenance of priority salmonid habitats being conducted by IFI staff throughout the catchment, along with stock management, and weed control operations.

“All prioritised works will be included in our medium-to-long-term management plan for the Great Western Lakes, which is currently under development.”

It is proposed that the enhancement works will be completed over a five-year period, with some already underway at a number of top priority habitat sites.

Extensive preparations will take place for the remaining sites, subject to the availability of resources. These include:

  • Landowner consultation and securement of consent.
  • Preparation of a development plan for each site, followed by appropriate assessment to ensure that sensitive species and habitats are not adversely affected by the proposed works.
  • Undertaking of fish surveys before works are undertaken and in the year after the works are carried out. Further monitoring surveys may also be carried out.
  • Application for consent to the relevant authorities, followed by procurement of contractors and materials.
Published in Angling

Patrol drones and other surveillance equipment have become increasingly important to detect illegal angling and fishing in hard-to-reach areas, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

The State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats says it recorded an increase in illegal fishing activity last year during COVID restrictions.

Over 33,000 patrols undertaken by fisheries officers in 2020, the agency initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019.

IFI seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before. Fisheries officers issued 240 fixed-charge penalty notices in 2020, compared with 158 in 2019 and gave 756 cautions, up from 425 cautions the previous year.

The way in which IFI patrols the country’s rivers and lakes also changed during the first months of the pandemic, the agency says, with unmanned drone patrols becoming increasingly important especially for difficult-to-reach terrains.

Dr Greg Forde, head of operations with IFI, said: “Safeguarding Ireland’s fisheries resources is a round-the-clock job, involving planned day patrols, covert night patrols and intelligence-led surveillance operations.

“Despite the fact that there was a global pandemic and travel restrictions in place for the public for much of the year, our teams all over the country recorded a higher level of illegal fishing activity last year, compared with 2019.”

IFI says its officers undertook a total of 33,051 patrols of different types last year, a substantial increase on the previous year (28,276) despite pandemic-related work challenges.

The agency also credits higher detection rates with the use of advanced surveillance equipment, such as night vision scopes, infra-red sensing scopes and enhanced optical surveillance scopes.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said its protection programme plays a key role in tackling serious ecological issues.

“Ireland’s freshwater fish, the habitats that they live in and the water that they swim in are all under threat,” he said. “So, the aim of our protection programme is to help protect stocks of vulnerable fish species, such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout, as well as promoting biodiversity and sustainable angling, which can bring important social and economic benefits to urban, rural and coastal communities.”

The most common methods for patrolling riverbanks, rivers, lakes and coastlines in 2020 were:

  • Vehicle and foot patrols (30,882 patrols)
  • Bicycle patrols (1,227 patrols)
  • Boat patrols (573 patrols)
  • Drone patrols (136 patrols)
  • Kayak patrols (129 patrols)
  • Personal watercraft patrols (56 patrols)
  • Quad patrols (46 patrols)

The number of drone patrols more than doubled in 2020, Dr Ford says. “Drones help us patrol greater distances over shorter periods of time. We increased the number of drones in our fleet last year and more of our officers were trained as drone pilots to the standard required by the Irish Aviation Authority, which has significantly increased our capacity to patrol certain types of terrain.

“Together with heat-detecting and surveillance equipment, drones are vital in the fight against illegal fishing here in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, members of the public are being encouraged to report any suspicions of illegal fishing activity directly to IFI by telephoning its 24-hour confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

The State agency responsible for the protection of freshwater fish and habitats is investigating an incidence of farmed salmon recovered from the Connemara Fishery.

Officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) Western River Basin District in Galway were alerted by anglers fishing for wild Atlantic salmon on the Dawros River in Letterfrack, more commonly known locally as the Kylemore River.

The anglers had reportedly captured fish with poorly formed fins and other distinguishing features associated with farmed salmon.

Scientists from IFI inspected various fish samples from the river and have confirmed that the fish are of “aquaculture origin” and are not wild Atlantic salmon.

The discovery is a serious cause for concern for IFI, according to its head of operations Dr Greg Forde.

“The Dawros Rivers have been designated a special area for conservation for wild Atlantic salmon and we are seriously concerned about the impact that farmed salmon could have on this native species,” he said.

“For example, farmed salmon could potentially transfer disease or could interbreed with the indigenous wild salmon population of this river.

“Salmon spawn during the month of December and each river has a genetically unique salmon stock. Early indications are that the farmed salmon, due to their size and development, could be capable of spawning this winter and interbreeding with wild fish, thereby weakening the natural genetic pool unique to the Dawros River.”

IFI says its investigations to determine the source of the escape are ongoing. The State agency has notified the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which is responsible for the issuing of aquaculture licences.

In an appeal to owners and operators of salmon fish farms around the country, Dr Forde said: “To protect and conserve wild Atlantic salmon for both current and future generations, it is absolutely essential that all salmon aquaculture installations are completely secure and farmed fish are not allowed to escape into the wild.”

Published in Angling
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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