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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is investigating a serious incident near Kinsale in Co Cork in which at least 2,000 fish have died.

The fish kill occurred on the Brownsmills stream in Co Cork and spread over a 4-5km stretch, flowing into the estuary at Kinsale.

Species of fish discovered dead include brown trout and eel. IFI says it first became aware of the issue on Wednesday (12 July) when a member of the public informed staff of seeing dead fish in the stream.

IFI have taken fish and water samples for analysis; Cork County Council Environmental Department are assisting with the investigation.

The State agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland’s freshwater fish and habitats says it is not in a position to confirm the specific cause of the fish kill at this early stage, but investigations are continuing.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened the final draw of 2023 for anglers who wish to catch and keep wild salmon and sea trout greater than 40cm from the Lower River Lee in Cork this year.

A further 45 brown tags are being allocated on Monday 24 July, following the first lottery for 45 tags in January, the second for 40 tags in March and the third for 45 tags in May. A total of 180 brown tags are being made available for the season via this series of online lotteries.

The pool system allocates brown tags to anglers who are successful in the lottery system. The tags must be placed on harvested fish along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

These essential identification rules for salmon angling are in force until the season closes on 30 September 2023.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long, director of the Southwest River Basin District at IFI said: “Brown tag regulations for salmon and sea trout are required on the Lower River Lee in Cork to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting.

“Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.

“The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining and the risk of over-fishing puts stocks in further jeopardy. Conservation measures such as brown tags are necessary and very effective.”

Three quarters of the available 180 tags have been issued to anglers with a valid 2023 rod licence. Any anglers that are interested in entering the final draw are being asked to apply before the closing date of 5pm on Thursday 20 July.

Anglers with a 2023 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon and sea trout greater than 40cm on a catch-and-release basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

Published in Angling

Three men have been fined in relation to the illegal capture of 27 salmon and the use of 861 metres of illegal nets off the coast of Mayo.

Patrick O’Donnell, Milan Funket, and Marek Radomsky were observed by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers setting drift nets from a boat, skippered by O’Donnell, which were later retrieved at Porturlin, North Mayo.

O’Donnell, Funket and Radomsky appeared before Belmullet District Court on Wednesday 14 June, charged with the offences.

The court was told that O’Donnell was the “ringleader” in the operation. He was convicted and fined a total of €3,000 for breaches of fisheries legislation, a further €1,000 in expenses to IFI and €1,845 in costs to IFI.

Funket was fined €750 for the possession of a net and Radomsky was fined €1,000 for the possession of illegally captured salmon.

Judge Fiona Lydon heard evidence from Inspector Lonan O’Farrell of IFI, that on 17 June 2022 he observed the three men setting a drift net from the boat, the Cailin Ban.

The net was later retrieved and placed in the boat, following which the Cailin Ban headed for Porturlin pier.

On its arrival at the pier a crew member disembarked, and the illegally caught salmon were put into a van. IFI officers intercepted the van at the pier, cautioned and questioned the driver, and seized the 27 salmon.

However, despite efforts by IFI fisheries officers to speak to the crew, the boat returned to sea and three bags were seen thrown overboard.

The Cailin Ban re-entered Porturlin pier where IFI officers boarded the boat and cautioned the two men on board. IFI personnel later retrieved the bags with the illegal drift nets that had been discarded at sea.

Francis O’Donnell, chief executive of IFI said: “The scale of this illegal salmon netting at sea was at a commercial level, and posed a significant threat to our wild Atlantic salmon stocks. It is a serious environmental crime, and such crimes will not be tolerated by IFI.”

Mary Walsh, IFI’s director of the Western River Basin District in Ballina added: “I commend the coordinated response of our dedicated teams. There were many factors contributing to the success of this operation, including intelligence, leadership, and planning, as well as the availability and use of specialised equipment.”

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officials will be questioned on the agency’s 2021 accounts at the Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) on Thursday (July 6).

Members of the Oireachtas committee will be joined by officials from the Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy, and representatives from IFI led by chief executive Francis O’Donnell.

Officials from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications will also be in attendance.

PAC Cathaoirleach Brian Stanley said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland is the state agency responsible for fisheries management of freshwater fish and coastal fish within 12 nautical miles of the shore”.

“The Board of IFI consists of 10 members – the chairperson, seven non-executive members, an elected employee, and the CEO, as an ex-officio member. There were three resignations from the board in 2022 and two in January 2023,” Stanley said.

“Under the Inland Fisheries Act 2010, the Minister for the Environment, Climate & Communications removed the remaining members of the Board on a “no fault” basis in February 2023 and appointed two persons to perform the functions of IFI Board for a period of up to six months, pending the reconstitution of the board,” he said.

“IFI made an overall deficit for 2021 of over €5m compared to a surplus of €3.4m in 2020. In 2021 its income amounted to nearly €32m, a decrease of nearly €5.1m, which was predominately due to the reduction of €5.8m in funding it received from the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communication when compared to 2020,” Stanley noted.

“The majority of IFI’s grant funding (€24.4m) is derived from the Inland Fisheries of Vote 29 – Environment, Climate & Communications. Its other source of income amounted to €4.3m in 2021, generated from various strands of its business, such as contract work, licence and permit income, and Salmon Conservation Funding,” he said.

“Its expenditure for the same period increased to €36.8m in 2021. The main element of this €2.9m increase is related to ‘staff costs’ for both its administrative and operations functions,” he continued.

“Areas of interest for the Committee raised in the 2021 IFI financial statements include internal issues between the board and executive, the governance of dormant accounts funding and the refund by IFI of €30,000, the management of Aasleagh Lodge and Cottages in Co Galway, the ongoing investigation by An Garda Síochána into matters uncovered at IFI, the Senior Counsel review of IFI Board, issues around uninsured vehicles and fleet management, the use of agency staff and legal cost,” Stanley said.

“The committee looks forward to examining these and related matters with Mr O’Donnell and his colleagues,” he said.

The PAC is a standing committee of Dáil Éireann which focuses on ensuring public services are run efficiently and achieve value for money.

The meeting in Committee Room 3 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in News Update

A primary school in Sligo has reeled in the winning prize in Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) Something Fishy competition for 2023.

Something Fishy is an educational programme aimed at primary school pupils aged between 10-13 years old. It informs and educates students on fish, water, angling and the Irish environment.

Sixth class learners at Scoil Mhuire agus Iosaf in Collooney, Co Sligo created the winning project in this year’s competition, and received a €500 prize voucher to be used for educational purposes at the school.

On completion of the programme, primary school students were challenged by IFI to create a project to demonstrate their learnings based on the theme of ‘life along the river’.

Scoil Mhuire agus Iosaf pupils’ project was based on a visit to the Unshin River in Riverstown, and the life cycle of Atlantic salmon for whom the river and its tributaries are an important area for spawning.

Their project took the form of a large 3D papier mâché sculpture showing the river in two contrasting states — healthy and unhealthy — with clay salmon to illustrate the different stages of their life cycle and how it interacts with the environment.

Announcing the winners, Suzanne Campion, head of finance and corporate services at IFI said: “This winning project showcased a great level of awareness from these young Sligo students of biodiversity in and around our rivers. A big thanks to Sligo Education Centre for their assistance with schools in the Sligo area.

“It is reassuring to see the knowledge that these children have on issues around the conservation and protection of our fisheries resource. Such interest and engagement on the sustainability of our fish and habitats bodes well for future generations — who will, after all, be the custodians of our inland fisheries in the years to come.”

This year 45 schools participated in the Something Fishy initiative, which is organised by IFI in conjunction with Blackrock Education Centre.

Published in Environment

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched an open call for youth clubs, community groups and schools in the greater Dublin area to take part in its local fishing programme, the Dublin Angling Initiative.

The project aims to promote, develop and improve angling among children and young people. In 2023 IFI is once again looking for interested parties for the summer, autumn and winter months to learn how to fish.

Speaking about the call, Brian Beckett, director of the Eastern River Basin District at IFI said: “In 2022 we took over 600 young people from the Dublin area out fishing. We are asking youth clubs, community groups as well as national and secondary schools to get in touch if they would like to try out a new hobby and learn skills for life.

“As well as learning a new skill, there are the additional health and wellbeing benefits of taking part in an outdoor activity and disconnecting from the online world.

“The initiative introduces young people to the pursuit, giving access to fishing equipment, guidance around how and where to fish and builds awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving our fisheries resource and its wonderful biodiversity.”

The project offers children and young people of all abilities an opportunity to take fishing lessons, participate in fishing trips and enjoy family fishing days.

Interested clubs, schools or groups can contact IFI’s DAI co-ordinator Rory Keatinge by email at [email protected] or by phone at 087 614 2906.

Published in Angling

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

It follows last year’s consultation on the first draft of the plan by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), as previously reported on

The plan covers 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.

IFI says it has developed a long-term management plan for these lakes to address many of the factors currently impacting on the ecological wellbeing of native fish stocks and their habitats.

A series of open evenings were held at six locations in Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Cavan last autumn to allow stakeholders to meet local staff to find out more about the plan. An online webinar was also hosted by senior management in IFI to allow any stakeholders to put questions or queries to help inform them to make a submission.

Also in 2022, IFI screened the plan for appropriate assessment and carried out strategic environmental assessment scoping.

Following the completion of the initial public consultation process, IFI reviewed the feedback provided by statutory consultees, the public and other stakeholders.

The plan was then revised to take account of the feedback where appropriate. Environmental assessments of the revised plan were then carried out; these comprised a full Natura Impact Statement and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report.

In accordance with environmental regulations, IFI is now holding public consultations on the Natura Impact Statement and Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report for the Long Term Management Plan for the Great Western Lakes. The consultation will be open until 4pm on Monday 31 July.

IFI says feedback received will help inform its decision on whether or not to adopt the plan.

All relevant documents are available on the IFI website and physical copies can be viewed (and purchased for €50 per document) at its Galway, Limerick and Ballina offices during office hours. Copies can also be viewed at IFI’s Lough Sheelin office by appointment with the Shannon River Basin District Office in Limerick.

Members of the public can make submissions on the plan, the Natura Impact Statement and/or the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report by email to [email protected] or by post to:

WLMP Consultation
Inland Fisheries Ireland
3044 Lake Drive
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin D24 CK66

The submission should clearly state whether it refers to the plan, the Natura Impact Statement and/or the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report. Submissions received after the closing date of 4pm on Monday 31 July will not be considered.

Published in Angling

A Sligo angler has been convicted of a breach of fisheries legislation for illegal salmon angling.

Mark Cawley, with an address in Sligo town, was observed in possession of an untagged salmon at Rockwood Parade on the Garavogue River in Sligo town.

The offence took place on 4 July 2022 and an Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officer gave evidence in court.

Cawley was convicted at Sligo District Court on Tuesday 6 June. He was fined €250 for breach of Section 182 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959 — possession of salmon unlawfully captured.

He was ordered to pay costs to IFI of €675 and €106.66 in expenses.

Mary Walsh, director of the Western River Basin District said: “The Garavogue River is open to catch-and-release fishing only. Atlantic salmon stocks are in decline and they need to be protected.

“It is critical for all stakeholders to strictly abide by tagging regulations to safeguard the future of these valuable salmon fisheries.

“IFI actively pursue those who fish illegally. I commend the ongoing surveillance operations carried out by our fisheries protection officers in the district, which led to this conviction.”

Published in Angling

A Co Meath angler has been found guilty of two breaches of fisheries legislation for illegal fishing in an area around the Blasket Islands.

Joseph Foley from Trim, Co Meath was observed trolling for protected bluefin tuna off the Kerry coastline using specialist gear including spreader bars, squid lures and game fishing reels.

Fisheries officers boarded his vessel, the Evie Rose, at the mouth of Valentia Harbour on 27 August 2022 and located the equipment stored throughout the boat.

Foley pleaded guilty to two charges: surface trolling from a vessel used for sea angling targeting or catching any species fish under Bye-Law No 981 of 2020 (Control of Sea Angling Method for Certain Species of Fish); and using a boat as an aid to the commission of an offence, contrary to the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 as amended.

He was convicted at Caherciveen District Court on Thursday 8 June and fined €400 for the breach of Bye-Law No 981/2020. The second charge was marked “taken into consideration”.

An order of forfeiture was made of the fishing gear seized and Foley was ordered to pay €200 costs.

The court was informed of the seriousness of the offences and that recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is prohibited unless licensed as part of a limited and tightly controlled ongoing research project.

The court heard that Foley had no previous convictions and had cooperated with fisheries officers.

Commenting after the case, Sean Long, director of the South-Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said: “Recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in all Irish waters is strictly prohibited.

“This was an intelligence-led operation. It enabled officers to detect and intercept the Evie Rose and ensure that these important species are protected from illegal fishing.

A tightly controlled licensed research project, studying the movements and abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Tuna CHART) has been underway between July and November annually since 2019. Such illegal angling jeopardises the potential for a viable recreational fishery in the future.

“I wish to acknowledge the vigilance and perseverance of IFI local fisheries officers in this instance.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to encourage members of the public and anglers to report illegal fishing, water pollution, fish kills, or fish in distress, to its confidential 24/7 phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is reopening the Moy Fishery in Co Mayo and the Galway Fishery in Galway city this week.

Both fisheries were closed to angling 10 days ago due to elevated water temperatures, as previously reported on

Barry Fox, head of operations at IFI said: “We are lifting our cessation of angling protocols at the Moy and Galway Weir fisheries.

“Water temperatures have reduced to appropriate levels, and when taking weather forecasts into account, it is now considered appropriate to reopen both fisheries.

“Water temperatures and weather forecasts will continue to be monitored on both fisheries over the coming weeks.”

Freshwater fish species such as salmon and trout can suffer ‘thermal stress’ arising from the impact of adverse warm weather on them.

The Galway Fishery opened to angling at 2pm on Monday 19 June, and the Moy Fishery will open for angling from Tuesday morning 20 June.

Management at both fisheries will be contacting all anglers who have confirmed bookings over the coming days. Those anglers who have had fishing cancelled due to the elevated temperatures will be refunded in due course.

The Moy Fishery can be contacted at 096 21332 or [email protected]. The Galway Fishery can be contacted at 091 562388 or [email protected].

IFI reminds anglers that may be required to close both fisheries and other State-owned fisheries if water temperatures rise to levels considered unsafe over the summer months.

Published in Angling
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