EU eels under threat


THE Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Seán Power, addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, outlined Ireland’s compliance with the European Council Regulation establishing measures for recovery of the stock of European eel.

Scientific research by the International Council for Exploration of the Sea showed that the eel population is so depleted it is now outside safe biological limits. The EU has therefore brought forward a council regulation to establish a new framework for the protection of the European eel.

Advising the committee on measures to close the fishery for three years from 2009, the Minister said: “For the foreseeable future, management of the fishery will focus on conservation not catch.”

** Wednesday April 8th-9th: It is a pleasure to join top fly-casting instructor Paddy McDonnell, along with Des Chew and Dennis Little, in Foxford, Co Mayo. But the intention to spend two days salmon fishing on the river Moy is dashed on the first day due to a heavy flood.

Instead, we divert to Cornamona on the river Corrib for a most enjoyable afternoon of buzzer fishing. Within the first hour, Dennis lands a fine trout of 1.4kg (3lb) in Doorus Bay; while trout rise freely to an incredible hatch of tiny olives and chironomids, they are reluctant to take our presentations.

Spirits are high next morning as water levels drop sufficiently to try for a springer. Permits are secured in Tiernan’s Tackle Shop and we are bound for Ballintemple Fishery. Waist deep, we make our way down this beautiful two-mile stretch of river under the watchful eye of our master tutor.

At Murphy’s Pool our hopes are boosted. “There is every chance of a fish here. Cast the fly into the flow and let it come around slowly. Keep the rod at 90 degrees,” McDonnell says. Alas, no takers. However, we see a springer “head and tail” cheekily pass by!

Although we are tired and wet (very wet) the two-day outing has been most enjoyable and our stay at Maloney’s Lodge in Foxford memorable. Paddy McDonnell runs the Moy Valley School of Flyfishing. Contact 092-51033 or

** At Kylemore Abbey Fishery, Co Galway, the season got under way at last with two fresh salmon on Easter Sunday. While a good number were visible entrants to the system since Good Friday, one good fish was lost to Steve Buchanan on Saturday in the Estuary bridge pool after a dramatic cartwheel over the width of the pool.

Ciáran Brady from Dublin landed the first fish of the season from Tullywee bridge pool on the upper river, followed 20 minutes later by Hugh Hartnett, also from Dublin, with a fish taken in Strawson’s pool. Both were caught on a Green Highlander.

With rain promised, hopefully this success will continue for the next few weeks, according to fishery manager Nigel Rush. Contact 095-41178 or

** The Western Regional Fisheries Board has launched its Fisheries Awareness Week, which will run from April 25th to May 2nd. The event aims to get young and old interested in fishing and the environment.

Events will include coaching sessions for kids, casting and fly-tying, fish cooking demonstrations, salmon hatchery tour and information sessions.

The week begins with coarse angling at Ross lake in Moycullen, Co Galway, and fly-fishing at the Mall river in Westport, Co Mayo. On Sunday, an open day at the Galway Fishery includes casting demonstrations, fly-tying sessions and viewing of the boards’ environmental laboratory.

Other activities include a tour of Cong Hatchery and visits to fish counters on some rivers. On Wednesday there will be a seminar on alien invasive species (a hot topic in the Galway area given the recent problems in Lough Corrib).

Later in the week events such as beach fishing and coaching will be provided at Silverstrand in Galway and Lettergesh near Leenane. A kids’ fishathon and BBQ will also be hosted in Galway City.

Other events will run during the week, and full details of the programme can be viewed at Booking is advisable for some activities. For further information, contact 091-563118.