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Public Consultation Launched on Long-Term Management of Great Western Lakes Fishery

10th August 2022
Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin is the easternmost of the seven Great Western Lakes Credit: IFI

A public consultation on the long-term management of the Great Western Lakes is now under way.

And Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is urging all interested parties, especially the angling community and anyone who uses the lakes or lives near them, to make a submission.

IFI has developed a draft plan for the long-term management of the seven lakes that comprise the Great Western Lakes: Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and Lough Carra in Co Galway, Lough Conn and Lough Cullin in Co Mayo, Lough Arrow in counties Sligo and Roscommon, and Lough Sheelin in Cavan, Meath and Westmeath,

This draft plan aims to address some of the many factors that impact on the ecological wellbeing and status of native fish stocks.

The lakes have long been designated, as a matter of policy, to be managed primarily as wild brown trout waters. Therefore, the proposed management programmes for these lakes will protect, conserve and, where possible, enhance the lakes’ natural attributes and native biodiversity.

In turn, IFI says, this would optimise the lakes’ potential as sustainable wild brown trout fisheries and, in some cases, Atlantic salmon fisheries. Other species such as eels, Artic char and Ferox trout are also reflected in the draft plan.

“It’s clear to see that all seven lakes share a series of pressures which are impacting on their ecosystem stability and native fish stocks. These include declining water quality, fisheries habitat loss, invasive species and the detrimental effects of climate change,” says IFI’s Suzanne Campion.

“These issues will be tackled through the various measures proposed in this draft plan. That is why the public consultation process is such an incredibly important step, as it gives the public the perfect opportunity to have their say.”

The draft plan is available from the IFI website or by visiting IFI’s offices in Galway, Ballina or Limerick.

The deadline for making a submission is 5pm on Tuesday 20 September. Anyone making a submission is encouraged to use the online questionnaire which will guide them through the headings of the plan.

In addition, a series of open evenings will take place during the consultation period where members of the public can discuss, seek clarification and ask questions on the draft plan with IFI representatives. Details of these events will be announced shortly.

Campion added: “We are urging anyone with an interest in the Great Western Lakes, especially anglers, other users of the lakes or those that live nearby, to read the draft plan and have their say by making a written submission online before the September 20th deadline.”

Published in Angling
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