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".