Sea trout in Ireland, in the context of legislation and management, has traditionally been closely identified with salmon and this consultation process will consider the requirement of establishing a separate identity for sea trout.
The policy will make recommendations which will inform a range of issues including sustainable management of stock and any possible legislative changes that may emerge in the future.
Other areas to be addressed will include protection and conservation (including biodiversity, habitat protection and interactions with aquaculture), stock assessment, and education and promotion.
Sea trout, the migratory form of brown trout, leave freshwater as a juvenile fish typically after two years. They enter marine waters where they feed heavily before returning to freshwater, usually to breed with some components of the population spawning several times over their lifetime.
As a result, the sea trout is a valuable angling fish which occurs in most coastal rivers and inshore waters.
Sea trout has significant economic and cultural importance in Ireland with potential for further development. This is coupled with major concerns about sea trout stock declines in some systems nationally, most particularly along the western seaboard, and requires that future management of sea trout is underpinned by a comprehensive policy.
IFI says it recognises the diverse opinions of stakeholders regarding the future management of sea trout and their fisheries and encourages stakeholder engagement through this public consultation process.
Interested parties are invited to make submissions which will be reviewed and considered by the Sea Trout Policy Group, which comprises of a range of representatives with a broad experience of sea trout within IFI.
“The sea trout is a complex migratory fish frequenting freshwater, estuaries and marine waters,” says IFI chief executive Ciaran Byrne. “The biodiversity, economic and cultural value of this type of fish requires a policy direction to manage this precious resource sustainably and to conserve it into the future.
“This public consultation, and ultimately the policy recommendations which will emerge, will capture stakeholder views and incorporate the broad scope of management issues that will underpin future policy.”
The public consultation period will run for five weeks until Wednesday 12 July. All submissions must be made in writing and will be published on the IFI website. Submissions should be marked ‘Public Consultation – Sea Trout Policy’ and can be submitted to [email protected] or by post to:
Sea Trout Policy
Inland Fisheries Ireland
3044 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Information on the consultation is available from the IFI website or from any IFI office.