#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has issued an appeal to bass anglers preparing for the season ahead to get involved in collecting information on bass in Irish waters for the National Bass Programme (NBP).
The programme was established by IFI to collect data on bass to provide scientific advice to support management and conservation of Ireland’s bass resource.
Bass anglers, as citizen scientists, have been collecting information for the NBP since 2013, thereby supporting bass stock assessment and increased understanding of the biology and ecology of bass in Irish waters.
To date, over 750 bass have been tagged and 3,000 adult bass scale samples have been collected. Scales are used to determine the age and growth rate of bass, while tagging provides information on migrations and habitat use.
The likelihood of additional recaptures is increasing with greater numbers of tagged fish at sea. Tagging results so far have shown that bass were recaptured generally within a few kilometres of their original capture site but some have travelled up to 38km. Time at liberty has ranged from three to 298 days.
By checking all bass for tags and reporting recaptures, anglers will help to discover additional information regarding movements of Irish bass.
IFI head of research and development Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “Ireland has always been a pioneer in terms of bass conservation and is showing progressive thinking in bass management by using the expert knowledge of anglers to collect information that would otherwise not be obtainable. We call on anybody interested in promoting bass conservation to contact IFI for information on how to get involved. All support is much appreciated.
“If you catch a bass with a yellow tag, or a fouled tag, please don’t remove it from the fish. Simply clean the tag and note the tag code (eg B-00001). If possible take the length and weight of the fish, and five scales from behind the pectoral fin, before you release the fish alive.
"Please send us the details, along with the date and location and your name and phone number by email or call IFI on 01-8842600. Information on the original bass tagging location and date will be provided to everybody who reports details to the IFI.”
IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne added: “Bass is an extremely important and valuable marine sport angling species in Ireland. It is a particularly valuable national resource, contributing €71 million to the Irish economy annually and supporting over 1,200 jobs nationally.
"Bass is an angling-only species so it is important that anglers, as guardians and custodians of this iconic sportfish, contribute information to support conservation orientated management.
"Some anglers are using voluntary logbooks to provide information on catches, angling effort, fish sizes and methods used. Scale sampling packs and logbooks are available from IFI and feedback on scales received will be provided to individual anglers outlining fish age, the year it was spawned and its growth rate.”
IFI has a dedicated email address at [email protected] to enable members of the public to report details on caught bass or to request information on how to support the NBP.
For more information, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie or call IFI at 01 884 2600 during office hours.