Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the state agency responsible for Ireland’s inland fisheries, has launched its new Corporate Plan 2016-2020. The plan sees IFI setting out ambitious goals to drive its work around the protection, conservation, promotion and development of Ireland’s fisheries resource over the next five years. Among these goals is the growth of angling with a view to increasing the number of domestic and international anglers in Ireland. Angling in Ireland is currently worth €836 million to Ireland’s economy annually, supporting upwards of 11,000 jobs.
IFI’s Corporate Plan also focuses on the protection and conservation of freshwater fish species in Ireland and it outlines how modern protection services incorporating technology will efficiently protect the resource. Staff have recently adopted new technologies to help them protect Ireland’s rivers and lakes with Fisheries Officers now routinely using equipment such as spotting scopes, night sights, thermal imaging equipment and mobile phone apps to assist them in their work. They are also using kayaks, all-terrain vehicles, quads and bikes on fisheries patrols.
IFI has also outlined a greater focus on fish habitats and their development to ensure fish populations thrive, an objective which will be progressed as part of the implementation of the National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD), the first comprehensive framework for the development of the Irish angling resource. The future health of Ireland’s angling resource is dependent on ensuring that Ireland’s fish populations and habitats are protected and conserved. This Strategy will deliver significant economic benefits in rural communities where much of angling takes place. It also offers the opportunity to improve the current economic impact of angling by €60 million per year and to support an extra 1,400 Irish jobs.
Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland has a huge jurisdiction with 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and over 5,500 kilometres of coastline. Over the next five years, IFI will utilise information and communication technologies and equipment to secure greater efficiencies in the protection of these fisheries.
We know that angling is at a turning point in this country and it is vital that we reinvigorate the sector. Angling supports economic development opportunities and jobs, often in rural and peripheral communities. This plan outlines how with the right budgetary and staff resources, we can maximise the potential of the resource while also ensuring that our environmental stewardship leaves the inland fisheries and sea angling sectors in a better position.”