Angling Notes: Gartan NS claims ‘Something Fishy’ award

Bass stocks on the rise; massive turnout for funeral of Clonbur’s Eoin Burke

Minister Joe McHugh TD presents the Gartan NS students (and teachers) with the National ‘Something Fishy’ Trophy.

Minister Joe McHugh TD presents the Gartan NS students (and teachers) with the National ‘Something Fishy’ Trophy.

 

STUDENTS from Gartan National School, Churchill, Letterkenny, Co Donegal are the 2017 winners of the ‘Something Fishy’ competition, sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

The programme saw 3,390 fifth and sixth-class students participating from 113 schools and nine education centres nationwide.

Building on classroom visits from assistant fisheries inspector, Owen Kelly, the winning school explored their local habitat, discovering much about their local streams, rivers and Gartan Lake. ‘Something Fishy’ helped to bring their environs into the classroom and gave the students first-hand experience of the local animal and fish life.

A video of the winning entry can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_hi1HEh4Co.

The Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach, Joe McHugh TD, presented the students with their ‘Something Fishy’ Perpetual Trophy plus a financial prize for the class at a reception in the school.

“Winning the national award is a reflection of the great support of the director of Donegal Education Centre, Jacqui Dillon and her staff; the principal, Caroline Carey; class teacher, Clare Murray and the pupils’ efforts in putting together a wonderful and engaging project,” said the Minister.

The ‘Something Fishy’ programme is an IFI annual educational initiative in partnership with Blackrock Education Centre, which allows students to learn about fish and the environment in a local context. Since its inception in 2005, approximately 50,000 children have participated in the initiative.

Further details regarding the programme can be found at: http://www.somethingfishy.ie/

Improvement in bass stocks

The tough measures introduced 27 years ago to conserve bass stocks by the then minister for the Marine, John Wilson, appear to be bearing fruit. Reports from shore anglers around our coastline indicate a significant improvement in bass catches than heretofore.

Our indigenous bass population is slow growing and late maturing and can be up to eight-years-old before spawning for the first time at about 35cm (14in), and over 20 years old at 4.5kg (10lb) weight.

The measures which came into effect in July, 1990 were (a) – a complete ban on commercial fishing by fishing boats and use of nets for bass fishing, (b) – a complete ban on the sale of bass (except for imported bass), ( c) – a minimum size limit of 40cm for any bass caught and (d) – a bag limit of two bass per person per 24-hr period. In addition, the introduction of a close-season for bass angling was introduced from 15th May to 15th June.

At the time, the minister said: “Stocks of bass have dropped dramatically over the last few years and are now at a very dangerous level. Commercial fishing for the species has been the main reason for this decline and tough measures were needed to rectify the situation.”

Certainly, William (Will) Warren has cause for great celebration. While fishing on a north Co Dublin beach recently he caught a huge bass which measured 835mm in length and had a girth of 410mm. The fish-of-a-lifetime opted for ragworm on a calm evening’s fishing and was sportingly released unharmed.

Nicki Byrne (Howth SAC) with a 35cm flounder from Portrane Beach, Co Dublin.
Nicki Byrne (Howth SAC) with a 35cm flounder from Portrane Beach, Co Dublin.

From the IFI’s National Bass Conservation Programme, the estimated weight of this bass (based on 83.5cm total length only) is 5,938g or 13.1lb (90 per cent C.I. 12.9-13.3lb). This is based on a sample of 1,057 bass in Irish waters ranging from 20-82.55cm in length.

Unfortunately, the girth is not included in the above calculation which is a weakness of length-weight relationships. However, the fish would be close to 25 years of age.

Clonbur comes to a standstill for Eoin Burke

Well over 10,000 people turned out to pay their respects to the late Eoin Burke of Clonbur, Co Galway in what was probably one of the largest funerals ever witnessed in the county. The village of Clonbur, indeed, the entire surrounding area, came to a standstill for Eoin’s funeral mass in St Patrick’s Church on Wednesday last.

His popularity was immense, on the GAA front as former player and chairman of the local club; proprietor of Peacockes Hotel and mart in Maam Cross, Connemara, and keen supporter of all angling-related events in the area. In short, he was a true gentleman, a great person and great company.

Eoin’s son Paddy, gave a snippet of the life of his dad. “We’re here, we’re here, we’re here” (his favourite saying). Our dad was one in a million. We couldn’t have asked for a better dad, he didn’t treat us like children but like people, he shared everything with us.

“He passed on a lot of different things to us. ‘When you’re good, you’re good,’ he would say. Eoin was a lot of things to different people, but to us he was our dad.”

My deepest sympathy is extended to Eoin’s wife Bríd, his children Hannah, Paddy, Muiréad and Jean, and his extended family. Ar dheis Dé a raibh anam.

The late Eoin Burke of Clonbur, Co Galway.
The late Eoin Burke of Clonbur, Co Galway.

angling@irishtimes.com.

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