#Angling - In addition to his comments on improvements in Letterkenny fisheries as previously reported on Afloat.ie, Minister of State Joe McHugh has also announced that 83 rivers will open for salmon angling nationwide in 2015.
“Fifty-five rivers will be fully open and this will provide opportunities for all to share this important natural resource on a sustainable basis," said the minister, who added that a further 28 will be open for angling on a 'catch & release' basis.
The total number of open fisheries is down on the 87 rivers opened for 2014, which comprised 57 fully open rivers and 30 catch-and-release fisheries.
Minister McHugh also discussed the further retention of the reduced licence fee for anglers to encourage tourism in the growing sector.
“In 2012 the cost of fishing licences was reduced in the prevailing economic climate and I have decided to maintain that price cut for 2015," he said. "I believe that lower costs will encourage sales of annual licences and continue to incentivise angling tourists to avail of the Ireland’s first-class angling product."
Minister McHugh received management advice in relation to 145 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and this advice was also made available publicly as part of a public consultation process. Over 20 submissions were considered as part of the public consultation process.
Management advice was based on the scientific assessment of the current status of all stocks carried out by the independent Standing Scientific Committee on Salmon (SSCE). This committee comprises scientists from IFI, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Marine Institute, the Loughs Agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI Northern Ireland), other State bodies and third-level institutions.
In all, the SSCE assessed 145 rivers and has advised that: 55 rivers may open as a surplus of fish has been identified in these rivers; 28 rivers are classified to open for catch-and-release angling; and that 62 rivers should be closed as they have no surplus of fish available for harvest.