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Pike Confirmed in Connemara’s Aughrusbeg Lough is ’Cause for Concern’

11th August 2021
File image of Aughrusbeg Lough in Connemara
File image of Aughrusbeg Lough in Connemara Credit: Jonathan Wilkins/Geograph

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed the presence of pike in Aughrusbeg Lough in Connemara, Co Galway.

IFI research staff made the discovery during a fish stock survey earlier this week. It is the first official record of pike being present in the freshwater lake.

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is investigating if the pike was “introduced” to the lake through human activity, by the illegal movement of fish between watercourses.

The introduction of pike to small low-complexity lakes such as Aughrusbeg Lough could be devastating to resident fish populations.

New introductions are also potentially a carrier of fish disease and parasites, the State agency has said.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said: “Ireland’s inland waterbodies are ecologically important ecosystems, which support significant recreational fisheries for native and established fish species.

“‘Introductions’ of new species threaten these ecosystems that they support, potentially in unforeseen ways, and are a major cause for concern for Inland Fisheries Ireland.”

He added: “Unfortunately, a similar introduction of pike into the upper sections of the Owenriff catchment in Co Galway over 10 years ago caused the virtual collapse of what had been a very important salmonid fishery in the West of Ireland.”

To help assess the scale of the problem, IFI researchers are currently analysing samples from the latest fish stock survey to establish the age and distribution of the pike population discovered in the lake.

In the meantime, IFI is appealing to all anglers to protect Ireland’s fisheries by not moving fish between watercourses, for any reason.

To report suspicions around the illegal movement of fish between watercourses, anglers and members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.

Published in Angling
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