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Displaying items by tag: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Important conservation works designed to improve habitats and water quality along the Kilroe River in Co Galway are ongoing, thanks to a successful partnership between the local angling community, local landowners and State agencies.

Under the Kilroe Environmental River Enhancement Programme, the East Corrib Alliance of angling clubs have been working closely with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) and local landowners since 2020.

The East Corrib Alliance comprises four angling clubs: Annaghdown Angling Club, Glencorrib and Cross Anglers, Headford and Corrib Anglers and Kilbeg Anglers.

Conservation works have included stream maintenance, narrowing of the main channel, closing off of drinking slips and replenishment of gravel for spawning.

To date, around 1.8 km of eco-friendly fencing has been supplied or repaired and alternative drinking troughs for livestock have been installed.

These works are set to improve fish habitats and water quality by stopping livestock from entering the river and potentially damaging riverbanks through providing alternative sources of drinking water.

The works in Corrandulla have been mainly funded locally by the East Corrib Alliance, with on-site support from the OPW and IFI. 

Once completed, it is hoped that there will also be more spawning and nursery opportunities in the river for Atlantic salmon and brown trout.

There are also plans to host school visits to increase awareness of the river’s ecosystem and the importance of protecting biodiversity.

Speaking during an inspection of the recent works at the Kilroe River, IFI’s newly appointed head of operations Barry Fox said: “This partnership approach between State agencies and angling stakeholders in delivering habitat improvement and rehabilitation is a template that should be followed for future fisheries enhancement projects.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a major fish kill incident that’s claimed over 2,000 juvenile brown trout and Atlantic salmon in a Co Donegal river.

Environmental and fisheries officers from the North-Western River Basin District were alerted to the incident in the Glenagannon River at Inishowen by a member of the public via IFI’s 24-hour confidential hotline number on Friday (26 August). 

Following patrols conducted along the river on Friday and Saturday (27 August), the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats has confirmed that over 2,250 juvenile brown trout and Atlantic salmon were killed in the incident.

The fish kill covered some four kilometres of the river and comprised several year classes of fish, IFI said, adding that is following a definite line of inquiry to determine the cause which may result in legal proceedings.
 
Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District acknowledged the ongoing support of the public in reporting suspected cases of water pollution and fish kills.

“We would like to thank the member of the public who alerted us promptly to this serious incident through our 24-hour confidential hotline last Friday,” he said.

“This enabled our environmental team in Letterkenny to instigate our investigations without delay. This can be critical in identifying and confirming the underlying cause of fish kill incidents such as this one on the Glenagannon River.”

To report fish kills or water pollution, members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s 24/7 hotline on 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging sea anglers to become citizen scientists as part of a project to gather key data for the protection of fish species and habitats around Ireland.

As TechCentral reports, IFI is using ESRI Ireland’s ArcGIS digital mapping system for the Irish Marine Recreational Angling Survey (IMREC), which has been previously highlighted on Afloat.ie.

It’s hoped to harness some of Ireland’s 250,000 recreational sea anglers to report real-time data on the fish they catch and release, via the Survey123 smartphone app — much in the same way as skippers’ participation in the Tuna CHART survey.

William Roche, a senior research officer at IFI said: “ArcGIS will enable us to recruit anglers as citizen scientists and crowdsource the large volume of data that we require for EU and national reporting.

“With more anglers collecting data, we will be able to build up a better picture of the state of fish stocks off Ireland’s coast, particularly for anglers.”

TechCentral has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

Nearly 60 people turned out for the public information meeting organised in Limerick by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) earlier this week to raise awareness of the Annacotty Fish Passage Project and highlight potential solutions to the problems that the weir is causing Ireland’s fish populations.

Attendees on Tuesday evening (23 August) included members of the public, representatives from community groups, local angling clubs, Annacotty residents, Government departments, State agencies and environmental organisations.

Public representatives also attended the event at the Castletroy Park Hotel, including Kieran O'Donnell TD, Cllr Seán Hartigan and Cllr Elena Secas.

The weir at Annacotty has been classified as a “significant barrier” to fish, negatively impacting on survival rates for species such as wild Atlantic salmon, lamprey (sea, river and brook), wild brown trout and eels.

At Tuesday’s meeting, IFI’s Brian Coghlan, a research officer with the National Barriers Programme, gave a presentation about how the weir acts as an artificial ‘barrier’ to certain fish species and the resulting problems for their life cycle.

Annacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River outside Limerick | Credit: IFIAnnacotty Weir on the lower Mulkear River outside Limerick | Credit: IFI

Alan Cullagh, a fisheries development inspector with IFI, talked about how the problems could be overcome and what solutions were being used in Ireland and internationally to improve fish passage at barriers.

Finally, a panel discussion took place with questions from the audience, involving Coghlan and Cullagh along with fisheries inspector Catherine Hayes and fisheries environmental officer Jane Gilleran, both also with IFI.

Closing the session on Tuesday evening, Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development said: “The Annacotty Fish Passage Project is a very important project to improve access to fisheries habitat on the River Mulkear and it is heartening to see the public interest in this project.

“As we highlighted at our public information meeting, we are seeking the views of the public to help inform the most appropriate solution for improving fish passage at Annacotty. This along with environmental and technical assessments will enable us to put the preferred option forward for planning permission.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is inviting the public to attend an information meeting about the Annacotty Fish Passage project at the Castleroy Park Hotel in Limerick this coming Tuesday evening 23 August.

Last year, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan announced that IFI would lead the Annacotty Fish Passage Project as the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats such as the Mulkear.

This week’s public information meeting is being organised to make more people aware about the project at the weir and to encourage as much engagement as possible with stakeholders right across the community, including key State agencies, special interest groups, voluntary, public and private sectors.

The Mulkear is considered a vital river for a range of fish species including wild Atlantic salmon, sea, river and brook lamprey, wild brown trout and eels.

Most of the main river and its smaller tributaries in the catchment are designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.

However, the weir at Annacotty has been identified as a ‘significant barrier’ to the free movement of several fish species. Last December more than 10,000 people signed a petition supporting the weir’s removal, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

In the last year, IFI says it has completed an assessment of the weir structure to quantify its fish passability and has undertaken title research to identify the owners of land and structures potentially impacted by the project.

It also secured €99,481 in funding under the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund in May of this year. This funding will be used to support the assessment and planning phase of the project to find the most appropriate solutions for fish migration and passage along the Mulkear. Environmental, technical and engineering assessments will also be funded.

Annacotty Weir as seen adjacent to The Mill Bar | Credit: IFIAnnacotty Weir as seen adjacent to The Mill Bar | Credit: IFI

At Tuesday’s meeting, the public will have an opportunity to find out more about the potential solutions being assessed to improve the passage of fish through the weir.

Ahead of the public meeting, IFI’s Suzanne Campion said: “The Annacotty Fish Passage Project is under way. We’re in a crucial phase of the project, which is to assess and evaluate the most appropriate solution for improving fish passage at Annacotty. This will enable us to reach another crucial phase: seeking planning permission.”

She added: “It’s great to see that there is growing public interest in this project. We’re organising this public information meeting on August 23rd to engage as many people as possible in the conversation about what happens next at the Annacotty weir to help improve passage for fish.”

Online registration for the free event, from 6pm at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick, is available via the IFI website HERE.

The works on Annacotty Weir are part of a pilot project to assist with the design and implementation of a national barriers restoration programme currently being progressed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in collaboration with a range of State bodies.

The Interagency Group for the Annacotty Fish Passage Project includes representatives from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications; Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Limerick City and County Council; Office of Public Works (OPW); National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO); and ESB.

More information about the Annacotty Fish Passage Project and the upcoming Public Information Meeting is available at www.fisheriesireland.ie/annacotty.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a “significant” fish kill incident on the Crover River in Co Cavan, which is a tributary of Lough Sheelin.

Officers from the Shannon River Basin District became aware of the incident late on Friday evening (12 August).

And IFI estimates that there could be in excess of 1,000 juvenile trout killed in the incident, covering a 1.5 km stretch of water.

Other aquatic species were also found dead, such as crayfish, lamprey, stone loach and invertebrates.

IFI says is not in a position to confirm the cause of the fish kill while investigations are ongoing.

Previously the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats warned of a high risk of fish kills due to thermal stress and reduced oxygen levels in lakes and rivers amid the recent heatwave.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a “very concerning” claim by Coastwatch that a local authority is chlorinating local streams which flow into a popular southeast beach.

Coastwatch spokeswoman Karin Dubsky says that children are at risk, along with stream life, due to the use of sodium hypochlorite to disinfect water flowing into a designated bathing water area at Dunmore East, Co Waterford.

Coastwatch has filed a report on the issue to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In its report to the EPA, Coastwatch says that the water quality in the two streams is poor or not dependable, and “apparently has been problematic for decades”.

Coastwatch spokeswoman Karin DubskyCoastwatch spokeswoman Karin Dubsky

It notes that authorities use this disinfection practise to kill faecal microbes and protect the health of bathers and children playing in the stream.

“However it also kills all stream life and exposes small children playing in the stream mouth to chlorine vapours and chlorinated stream water, which can have significant health effects,” it says.

“There are no warnings to the public to take this risk into account. Furthermore, the drip sites – especially the westerly one - are easily accessible to exploring children. Contact with a drip can result in serious burns and possible loss of eyesight,”it says.

“While this appears to be contrary to the Water Pollution Act 1977 Section 3 and other legislation, Coastwatch was told first verbally and then in writing that it would continue for public health reasons,” it says.

Waterford City and County Council said it disputes Coastwatch Ireland’s claim that it is in breach of the Water Pollution Act.

“Two streams flowing into Dunmore East bathing area are chlorinated during the summer bathing season and have been for a number of years,” Waterford City and County Council said in a statement.

“This is due to diffuse and unidentified point source pollution sources upstream of the beach. The chlorine is driven off by the motion of the water and as such is unlikely to affect the flora and fauna in the bay and certainly not as much as some beach users leaving their rubbish, discarded plastics and other waste,” it said.

“The stream is chlorinated upstream of the culvert to the beach, primarily because children tend to play in the stream despite notices being erected advising adults/parents that it is unsafe to do so,” the local authority said.

“The purpose of the chlorination plant is primarily to protect human health from the impact of diffuse pollution sources further upstream,” it said.

Inland Fisheries Ireland said it had received communication last week from the EPA on the issue.

“The issues raised are very concerning, and Inland Fisheries Ireland will investigate the matter immediately, from a fisheries perspective,” it said.

It asked members of the public to report any suspected water pollution incidents to its new confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.

Published in Coastal Notes

With Met Éireann forecasting a heat wave for large parts of the country into this weekend, combined with lower-than-average rainfall, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is warning that there is a high risk of fish kills due to thermal stress and reduced oxygen levels in lakes and rivers.

Also known as deoxygenation, reduced oxygen levels in a river or lake make it very difficult for fish to breathe and survive.

The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats is concerned that water levels in many rivers are low and approaching drought conditions.

Therefore, it is appealing to anglers, the farming community and the general public to report any sightings of fish under thermal stress, which may be caused by the extreme heat combined with low water levels and other pressures.

Anglers are also being asked to voluntarily stop using ‘keep nets’ while high temperature warnings from Met Éireann are in place, as these nets may cause unintentional distress to fish.

In addition, anglers that practice ‘catch and release’ fishing are asked not to fish during the heat wave where possible, as this may put undue pressure on fish populations.

Dr Gregory Forde, head of operations at IFI explains: “Unfortunately low water levels and high water temperatures can lead to fish kills, especially as there is less oxygen in the water to allow fish to breathe.

‘During the current heat wave, air and water temperatures are approaching dangerous levels and fish kills may be unavoidable’

“Once the water temperature exceeds 20C, fish species such as salmon and trout suffer ‘thermal stress’. During the current heat wave, air and water temperatures are approaching dangerous levels and fish kills may be unavoidable. In some instances, moving fish in and out of the water may also prove too stressful. 

“That’s why we’re asking anglers practicing catch and release fishing to consider taking a break from fishing while high temperature warnings are in place. We’re also asking anglers to voluntarily stop using ‘keep nets’ until conditions become more favourable.”

Last month, IFI and the Office of Public Works’ data buoy recorded a surface water temperature of 21.84C at Lough Sheelin in Co Cavan, coinciding with July’s hottest air temperature of 30.75C. 

IFI notes that significant thermal stress can occur in brown trout and other cold water fish species at temperatures at or above 20C.

Forde said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland staff are continuously monitoring water bodies, such as rivers and lakes, for any signs of fish suffering thermal stress in shallow water or drying out rivers and streams.

“We’re encouraging the public to report any sightings of fish suffering thermal stress to our 24-hour confidential hotline on 0818 34 74 24 so we can respond as quickly as possible to help rescue or relocate these fish.

“It is also a good time to remind all those using pesticides that these should be used only as a last resort, always in accordance with product instructions and always respecting statutory ‘no use’ zones, being mindful at all times of proximity to water bodies such as ditches, streams, ponds, rivers, lakes and springs. Even a very small amount of pesticide can be highly toxic to the aquatic environment.”

‘Many of our fish species will find survival difficult in these warm conditions without the added pressure of angling stress’

Elsewhere, the Loughs Agency is advising anglers across both the Foyle and Carlingford catchments to help preserve salmon and trout stocks in local rivers following prolonged periods of hot weather.

These extreme weather conditions have led to low river flows, high water temperatures and low oxygen levels in many bodies of water.

The guidance comes after only 43% of the average rainfall fell in Northern Ireland last month, although some rivers in the Foyle catchment also experienced severe flooding. Each one of these significant weather events put stress on fish.

The agency’s head of science Dr Sarah McLean is hopeful that anglers will proceed with caution on the rivers, particularly when fishing in the current warm temperatures.

“Many of our fish species will find survival difficult in these warm conditions without the added pressure of angling stress,” she said.

“Even catch and release poses a risk in these conditions as low dissolved oxygen in the water can result in poor fish recovery rates and inadvertent mortalities.

“It is also worth remembering that high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels may also leave fish more susceptible to parasites and disease, so any fish caught will also require additional care when handling.”

There are several measures anglers in Foyle and Carlingford can take to help protect fish during the hot weather:

  • Consider taking the water temperature before you fish and avoid fishing at times when water temperatures are high. Water temperature will be coolest in the early morning.
  • Where possible, keep fish in the water during catch and release.
  • Seek advice from fishery or angling clubs where appropriate.
  • Avoid targeting larger fish or sensitive species.
  • Keep nets should not be used by coarse anglers during warm weather.
  • Limit handling time.
  • Where possible and safe, release fish into deeper, faster flowing water. 

Anglers should report distressed or dead fish in the Foyle or Carlingford catchments directly and promptly to the Loughs Agency at +44 (0)28 71 342100 or [email protected]

Published in Angling

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

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it is investigating a "significant" fish kill on the River Erkina near Rathdowney in Co Laois earlier this month. 
 
Environmental and fisheries officers from the South-Eastern River Basin District were alerted to the incident by a member of the public on Wednesday 20 July.
 
The State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats estimates that there could be in excess of 2,000 trout killed in the incident, in addition to other species such as salmon parr, lamprey and crayfish.

IFI notes that fish species in the Erkina are very vulnerable currently due to higher water temperatures and lower water levels at this time of year. If there is less oxygen in the water, fish find it extremely difficult to survive as a result.

Local anglers have expressed their dismay, with Rory Maher of Rathdowney Angling Club telling the Leinster Express that the incident has ended their 2022 season and may already rule out fishing in 2023.

“It is not just fishing impacted, it’s all the wildlife on the river, like ducks, herons, egrets, kingfishers — the whole ecosystem has been affected,” the club’s secretary Maher said.

Investigations into this fish kill incident are ongoing and IFI says is not in a position to comment on the cause at this stage.

Published in Angling
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