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Inland Fisheries Ireland Reminds Anglers About Regulations Ahead of Busy Summer Season

27th June 2022
Bream caught by an angler in Ireland
Bream, like this one caught by an angler in Ireland, is one of a number of popular species for coarse angling Credit: IFI

July and August are typically the busiest months of the year for angling, so Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is issuing a timely reminder about the national regulations that are in place to protect pike and coarse fish.

Angling is a hugely popular leisure activity and sport in Ireland, with IFI-commissioned research revealing that over 325,000 adults enjoy it.

According to an Amárach Research omnibus survey in 2021, 18% of adults who have not tried angling before are “likely” to try it in the future.

IFI is the State agency with responsibility for the promotion of angling, as well as the protection, conservation and management of inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

“Historically, Ireland has been known for its salmon and trout fishing, but the country is also being hailed internationally for its pike and coarse fishing,” IFI’s head of business development Suzanne Campion says.

“However, the national regulations around pike and coarse fishing might not be as well known.

“There are conservation measures in place to protect pike and coarse fish under national byelaws. It is very important that every angler, including first-time anglers and experienced anglers, becomes familiar with these pieces of legislation to avoid any potential fines or prosecutions.”

Pike are one of largest freshwater fish species in Ireland and can reach over 15kg (33lbs) in weight, while coarse fish include species such as roach, bream, rudd, tench and perch.

Important Bye Laws

Under the national Pike Bye Law (no. 809/2006), there’s a ‘bag limit’ of one pike in any one day. This means that an angler can only keep and take away one pike and must carefully return any other pike caught to the same waterbody, safely.

The same bye law also prohibits the killing of any pike that measure longer than 50 centimetres. In these cases, the pike must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody.

Under the Coarse Fish Bye Law (no. 806/2006), there’s a bag limit of four coarse fish in any one day, meaning that if an angler catches more than four course fish, those must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody. In addition, any coarse fish that measure longer than 25 centimetres cannot be killed.

Meanwhile, there are other regulations that apply to all anglers, regardless of what type of species they are fishing for. For example, it is illegal to fish in Ireland with more than two rods; it is illegal to transfer live roach from one waterbody to another and finally, the use of live bait when angling is prohibited.

Breaches of fisheries legislation could result in fixed penalty fines, seizure of fishing equipment or criminal prosecutions.

Catch and Release

‘Catch and release’ is a conservation practice that is supported by IFI, whereby a fish is handled responsibly and put back into the same waterbody, safely.

When fishing for coarse fish, the use of large keep nets is encouraged; it is also recommended that pike and carp sacks are used to weigh the fish, before returning them safely to the same waterbody.

Campion added: “For anyone interested in angling or trying it out, there is an extensive network of very active clubs, associations and federations all over the country that organise coaching, events and competitions. There’s also a dedicated website for angling in Ireland at www.fishinginireland.info with very helpful information about regulations and bye laws, directories and resources.”

Published in Angling
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