Angling Notes: Fishing course for youngsters moves online as Covid bites

300kg bluefin tuna caught in Scottish waters and Nant Gwryd river restoration under way

Josh, with a dogfish from a Buncrana beach in Donegal, during the IFI and Foróige Youth Group Go Fishing programme

Josh, with a dogfish from a Buncrana beach in Donegal, during the IFI and Foróige Youth Group Go Fishing programme

 

Efforts to entice young people to take up fishing have been ongoing since July as part of a Go Fishing programme with fisheries staff from the education and outreach team in conjunction with Foróige.

During August, a group based in Donegal spent an afternoon shore fishing on Buncrana beach as part of their fifth session with the programme. The youngsters learned how to set up a beach rod, attach rigs, bait-up with mackerel, razorfish and lug worm. Conditions were ideal which resulted in some nice fish caught, including dogfish.

The day concluded with each participant presented with a goodie bag and certificate of awareness as part of completing the Go Fishing course.

A selection of young anglers fishing on Buncrana beach during the IFI and Foróige Go Fishing programme
A selection of young anglers fishing on Buncrana beach during the IFI and Foróige Go Fishing programme

Due to public health-related restrictions on gatherings, the programme has now evolved into a blended learning experience that consists of one online course every week for four weeks and a local fishing trip for the fifth session to complete the programme.

The online programme is designed for those between 12 and 17 years of age. Group numbers for the fishing trip are in line with current public health advice, however, up to 20 can partake in the online course.

With consideration of the current situation, all fishing field trips are scheduled to take place in 2021 where participants will learn about inland fisheries, biodiversity of waterways, becoming a steward and the basics of angling.

Lorraine O’Donnell, education and outreach officer, said: “Being able to offer the course in an online capacity keeps the programme accessible and means we [can] offer the programme to organisations like Foróige. We would like to invite any youth groups interested in taking part to email Outreach@fisheriesireland.ie for more information.”

Orla Taylor, Foróige youth worker, added: “Inland fisheries presented their sessions in a well organised way, telling stories of catches and experiences. The group loved the experience and are looking forward to trying more fishing.”

Bluefin tuna can swim up to 70km/h. Photograph: Greenpeace
Bluefin tuna can swim up to 70km/h. Photograph: Greenpeace

300kg bluefin tuna caught in Scottish waters

A bluefin tuna was caught in a Scottish salmon company cage in Great Bernera, Loch Roag, Lewis, according to the Hebrides News, based in Stornoway, Scotland.

The fish weighed an estimated 300kg and had propelled its way through a steel-strong net into the pen at high speed.

Bluefin tuna can swim up to 70km/h and have heads covered by a hard shell, making it easy for them to break through any net that has a resistance strength of about 95kg.

A spokesperson for the Bakkafrost-owned salmon farmer told the publication: “A small tear was identified in the net which was made when the tuna entered at speed. This was quickly repaired and no fish escaped.”

The Atlantic bluefin was safely captured by fish farm workers and returned to the open water.

Nant Gwryd river restoration under way

Work to restore a kilometre of the Nant Gwryd river in Snowdonia, in Wales, has commenced. The project will reconnect the river’s natural flood plain to improve fish spawning areas. The work is the latest phase of Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust’s joint project to enhance the environment of the Upper Conwy catchment.

The project has derived from working closely with local farmers which will see, for example, fencing work undertaken to prevent cattle and sheep from entering the river, bringing gains in terms of water quality.

Project officer, Bethan Beech, said: “Work to restore Nant Gwryd will boost wildlife including fisheries, insect and bird life, making it a great place for nature. And slowing the river’s flow will reduce flood risk in areas lower down the valley.”

angling@irishtimes.com

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