EU aids Irish Sea trout


ANGLING NOTES:An important scientific study into the decline in sewin (sea trout) in the Irish Sea was launched last Wednesday in Bangor, Wales. The Celtic Sea Trout Project (CSTP), with EU funding for the Irish-British venture, aims to discover more about the lifestyle of sewin in the Irish Sea and in rivers across Wales and Ireland, was launched by Welsh Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones. The investment of £1.8 million (€2m), will be welcomed by Irish and British anglers and fishermen.

Fisheries experts at Bangor University, with Irish partners from the Central Fisheries Board, will lead the study. It is hoped that information gleaned from the project will lead to an increase in stock levels in Welsh rivers.

The CSTP will build a genetic database of young fish caught in rivers and monitor their diet and movement at sea. In that way, it is hoped that a comprehensive insight into links between environment, climate change and sewin will be established.

Anglers and netsmen will also play a key role by submitting scales for DNA sampling and catch statistics, aided by a specially designed instruction pack.

Work to improve habitat, access to spawning grounds and fishing limits in rivers are already in place by Environment Agency Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. However, the number of sewin migrating up Welsh rivers is still a concern.

The study is part-funded by the Ireland-Wales Interreg Iva programme, with Welsh Assembly, Environment Agency Wales and the Irish Government matching the funding. A number of river trusts and organisations in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and north-west England will also contribute to the project.

“Wales has long recognised the social, economic and cultural value of sewin in Wales. This project will contribute towards the goal of the Wales Fisheries Strategy of maintaining healthy fish stocks and supporting sustainable fisheries for future generations,” the minister said.

** From an angling perspective, the Solheim Cup came to mind last weekend as Killeen Castle hosted an All-Ireland ladies’ angling event on the lakes of this magnificent 600-acre estate in Dunsany, Co Meath.

(The Solheim Cup is the ladies equivalent of the Ryder Cup and contested between Europe and the United States. Killeen Castle will host this prestigious event next year.)

The morning session was devoted to fly-casting instruction, under the guidance of Glenda Powell and Betty Hayes. This was valuable since some of the 23 ladies had never previously held a fishing rod. By lunchtime they were all proficient casters.

It was down to business in the afternoon on Lake Three. Boobies and Montana lures were to the forefront as great big rainbows grabbed the flies, resulting in great enthusiasm in the contestants. After two hours of fun, 26 quality fish found their way to the bank for ratification and then returned.

Barbara Celira from Dublin, a member of the Irish Ladies Flyfishing Team (Ilfa), took top honours with five fish for an estimated weight of 8kg, while Margaret Corbett, Navan, caught the heaviest fish of 4kg. Maureen Lyons, Mary Brady, Betty Hayes and Julie McKeever, all members of the first Ilfa international team in 1995, found time to rekindle old memories.

A great day was had by all, rounded off with a magnificent dinner and prizegiving in the clubhouse.

** Waterways Ireland advises its boating customers that winter mooring on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterways expires on March 31st. From April 1st to October 31st, craft owners are required to remain no longer than five consecutive days on any public mooring or more than seven days in any one month. For further details, tel: 0906 494232.

** The Loughs Agency in Northern Ireland has issued new angling regulations whereby it is prohibited to kill coarse fish and eels in the Foyle and Carlingford areas. A bag limit in any one day, however, allows the capture of two pike of 4kg or less and one specimen. A river specimen is 9kg and lake specimen 13.6kg. A further restriction prohibits the use of live bait in fresh water.