Angling Notes: Inland Fisheries appeal to farming community to help protect waterways

Call comes after company fined for polluting Suileen River, a tributary of the Clare River in Co Galway

Bert McGregor with his specimen ling of 33lb 5oz caught out from Courtmacsherry, Co Cork.

Bert McGregor with his specimen ling of 33lb 5oz caught out from Courtmacsherry, Co Cork.

 

THE farming community is being asked to play their part in protecting waterways from the threat of agricultural pollution.

The call comes from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), following the conviction of Corrib Farming Ltd, for allowing effluent enter the Suileen River, a tributary of the Clare River in Co Galway.

At a hearing in Tuam District Court earlier this month, Corrib Farming Ltd. pleaded guilty to a breach of the Fisheries Acts, in September of last year.

Evidence was given by fisheries staff of tracing the source of a significant pollution event to a pipe emanating from the company’s farm in Tuam.

Indicators of nutrient enrichment were found covering about 4km downstream of the discharge point, before entering the Clare River. Water samples confirmed the discharge had caused pollution of the Suileen River.

Although the company fully co-operated and undertook to remedy the situation immediately, there was significant damage caused to the water quality of the Corrib catchment.

Judge James Faughnan convicted Corrib Farming Ltd. and directed that the company pay €1,000, not by way of a fine but towards restorative works on the Corrib catchment, as well as laboratory expenses of €349.32 and legal costs of €800.

While the advent of round bales has reduced the potential for pollution, IFI is warning that continued use of silage pits can put rivers at risk. Silage effluent is a highly toxic substance when it gets into rivers, starving the fish and invertebrate life of oxygen.

When rivers are low in summertime, even a small leak can cause huge damage. Maintenance of silage pits and slurry storage facilities is essential to ensure that leaks or overflows are not permitted.

As highlighted in the Good Agricultural Practice Guidelines from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, farm effluent and slurry should only be spread responsibly when heavy rain is not forecast and never close to a watercourse.

The Clare River is the largest tributary of Lough Corrib which sees thousands of salmon and trout run the river to spawn every year. It provides a valuable facility for local and tourist anglers, with six different angling clubs located along the river.

Patrick Gorman at IFI, said: “Members of these angling clubs have invested heavily in recent years to improve spawning and nursery habitat for salmon and trout. They rely heavily on the environmental stewardship of local farmers to maintain the Clare River and ultimately Lough Corrib.”

Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected incidences of water pollution to IFI by phoning 1890 34 74 24.

Fishing heaven for Swords visitors off Courtmacsherry

“The fishing was so good, I didn’t sleep for two days, fishing solid day and night”, said an elated Bert McGregor following a trip of a lifetime out from Courtmacsherry, Co Cork, aboard Silver Dawn with skipper David Edwards, last week.

Taking advantage of the fine weather, the group from Swords Angling Centre included David Coleman, Luke Walpole, John Baker and Bert, ventured 20 miles out to three wrecks in a depth of about 70 fathoms.

David Coleman of Swords Angling Centre with the heaviest ling caught in past 12 years, of 36lb 8oz, fishing with skipper David Edwards out from Courtmacsherry, Co Cork.
David Coleman of Swords Angling Centre with the heaviest ling caught in past 12 years, of 36lb 8oz, fishing with skipper David Edwards out from Courtmacsherry, Co Cork.

“Fishing was out of this world, I had three blue shark (best 90lb) and lost count of the huge ling, my best topped 33lb 5oz. David Coleman went one better with his best of 36lb 8oz. But we all caught very big fish over the two days,” Bert said.

He was in high praise for the skipper who really knew his ‘stuff’ when it came to catching shark. None of your heavy ‘ground baiting’, just a small basket of mackerel over the side and regular appetisers of mackerel, was the key to success.

Fish stock census on Lough Corrib

A fish stock census on Lough Corrib to assess fish population got underway last Monday (14th June) and will conclude on 2nd July. The work involves netting at over 120 sites by fisheries staff utilising a maximum of three boat crews.

The survey will provide a range of information on fish stocks in the lake. Information will include fish distribution, relative abundance, size distribution, age and growth information for most species captured. The diet of selected species will also be assessed.

Crews will be very visible on the lake and sets of nets will be marked with distinctive buoys labelled ‘IFI Survey’. Anglers and other lake users are asked to be vigilant over the next few weeks and to avoid snagging in the nets. If you see these buoys please leave them undisturbed.

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

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