Angling Notes: 13 kilometres of illegal nets seized last year

Protection officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland also seized spear guns, hand lines, traps and illegally caught fish

An example of an illegal fishing net, seized at Inisdooey Island in Co. Donegal in 2020

An example of an illegal fishing net, seized at Inisdooey Island in Co. Donegal in 2020

 

More than 13 kilometres of illegal nets were among 1,287 items seized last year by protection officers, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Other items seized included spear guns, hand lines, traps, illegally caught fish and stroke hauls which are large-weighted hooks used to impale a fish.

Due to the severity of the offence and environmental impact caused by illegal fishing, IFI has a policy of bringing such cases directly to court. Those convicted can face fines and even prison sentences.

Assistant inspector John Twomey, pictured with samples of the recent fish kill along the River Ilen in Skibbereen, West Cork
Assistant inspector John Twomey, pictured with samples of the recent fish kill along the River Ilen in Skibbereen, West Cork

Dr Greg Forde, Head of Operations said to put that figure of more than 1,200 items including the 13 kilometres of nets into perspective was “enough netting to line the runway at Dublin Airport five times over”.

A recent court case involving the use of an illegal net came before Judge Waters at Listowel District Court. The person involved was convicted under Section 96 of the Fisheries Acts 1959-2017 on a charge of possession of a net along the River Brick in 2020 and fined 700 and ordered to pay 947 in court costs.

In another court case involving the seizure of an illegal net, the person was convicted on two counts of illegal fishing and one count of obstructing fishery officers. A fine of €2,000 was imposed for illegal fishing, including possession of an illegal salmon drift net, a further €2,000 for obstructing officers and ordered to pay €500 in costs.

To report suspicions of illegal fishing or sightings of illegal nets, members of the public are encouraged to call the confidential 24-hour hotline on 1890 34 74 24.

Major kill

Fisheries offices are continuing to investigate a major fish kill on the Ilen River in Skibbereen, Co Cork following an alert from a member of the public. An estimate of mortalities has put the figure at 2,000 across several species including sea trout, salmon, eel and flounder.

Dead fish were detected over a 2km stretch downstream from the centre of Skibbereen town. Water and fish samples were taken from the scene and removed for scientific analysis at an independent laboratory.

The Ilen provides an important habitat for sea trout and salmon and is one of the prime angling rivers in the southwest of the country.

Hot conditions and low levels

The world club qualifier, which took place last weekend on the Grand Canal at Daingean, Co Offaly, saw 40 anglers representing clubs from across the country. Due to the hot conditions and low water levels, concessions were made to support enhanced fish welfare.

The final tally resulted in a tie of 27.5 points between two of the host teams, i.e. BSI Black and Green, which led to a weight decider, with the former team just a kilo ahead.

After a good second day performance, Erne Anglers A team finished in third position on 37.5, just three points ahead of BSI Sensas White.

Sensas Black Team that will represent Ireland next year in the world FIPS-Ed championships in Belgium
Sensas Black Team that will represent Ireland next year in the world FIPS-Ed championships in Belgium

BSI Sensas AC now proudly hold the Bobby Smithers Cup and will represent Ireland at next year’s FIPS-Ed World Championships in Belgium.

In his element

On arrival at Oaklands Coarse Fishery in New Ross, Co Wexford, the lake was a hive of activity with more than 30 boys and girls enjoying the opportunity to catch fish under the watchful eye of instructors and parents.

“Today is part of a weeklong daily session to encourage young people to take up angling as a sport,” proprietor Adrian Browne said. Oaklands has come on leaps and bounds since my last visit and now boasts a well-stocked angling shop, toilet facilities, adequate parking and light refreshments.

“I have four lads helping me from one of the Leader courses. They love it here. They built a beautiful memorial at the entrance in memory of my dad Michael, who started the business 21 years ago,” Adrian said.

The 4.5 acre lake has 64 pegs and accommodates a huge population of fish. In fact, there are 16 different species including two varieties of carp, some to specimen size. Oaklands also has an international match team which competed in last weekend’s world cup final qualifier.

Oaklands Coarse Fishery proprietor, Adrian Browne assisting Kian Ferguson, aged 13, at the lakeside in New Ross, Co Wexford
Oaklands Coarse Fishery proprietor, Adrian Browne assisting Kian Ferguson, aged 13, at the lakeside in New Ross, Co Wexford

(As for my grandson Kian (13), he was in his element catching at least 20 fish including carp, perch, roach and bream, all on maggots.)

For more details, contact Oaklands at 051-425196 / 087-698 8979.

Fly by day

Glenda Powell, in association with Steve Mercer of Chai Yoga and Tea, is hosting a yoga and fly-fishing day course at the Blackwater Salmon Fishery, near Fermoy, Co Cork on Friday, 20th August, 2021.

The event will begin with a traditional Hatha Yoga practice focusing on balance of body and mind and is suitable for all ability levels.

The group will then share sweet masala chai (tea), before getting to grips with the basics of fly fishing. A break will follow for a healthy plant-based lunch of seasonal dishes and wholesome salads, promising big bold flavours.

The afternoon will be a relaxed affair of fly fishing in stunningly peaceful surroundings on the Upper and Lower Kilmurry beats of the Blackwater.

Price per person is €175. To book, contact Glenda at glenda@glendapowellguiding.com or tel. 00353 (0) 87 2351260.

If you have an angling story to share, please send to me at angling@irishtimes.com

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