Submissions required to safeguard the Arctic char

Char is a glacial relict species, native to Ireland, which is classified as vulnerable

The glacial relic Arctic char, for which a new conservation bylaw is proposed for this vulnerable species. Photograph: Irish Char Conservation Group.

The glacial relic Arctic char, for which a new conservation bylaw is proposed for this vulnerable species. Photograph: Irish Char Conservation Group.

 

Submissions from interested parties in relation to the proposed introduction of a conservation bylaw prohibiting angling, killing or retention of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) from any waters of the State, is being sought by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The proposal under consideration is to request the Minister for the Environment to introduce a conservation bylaw prohibiting any person from taking, or attempting to take, an Arctic char by means of any fishery engine or rod and line from the waters of the State and to prohibit killing, retention or possession of Arctic char.

The char is a glacial relict species, native to Ireland, which is classified in the Irish Red Data Book as vulnerable due to a range of anthropogenic and environmental pressures such as water abstraction, eutrophication, climate change and introduction of non-native fish species.

All submissions must be marked “Public consultation – Proposed prohibition of angling for Arctic Char” and received in writing by 5pm on Tuesday, November 16th, 2021.

Written submissions can be emailed to arcticchar@fisheriesireland.ie or posted to Inland Fisheries Ireland, Station Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, F94 WV76. Valid submissions will be published on fisheriesireland.ie.

An interesting anecdote I encountered some years ago in relation to arctic char related to a preview card I received from An Post with four stamps of outdoor wildlife which included a photograph of a char.

The word “char” had repeated the letter “r”, as in charr. On checking with the Irish Char Conservation Group and several contacts, I was satisfied the Irish spelling had just one “r”. An Post advised me they got the spelling from a Dublin-based university.

However, to my knowledge, the stamp never appeared in circulation. PS, I think I still might have the one-off sample!

An unexpected catch

A potential new Irish record stone basse of 13lb 6oz, caught by Jim Clohessy fishing out from Cork Harbour.
A potential new Irish record stone basse of 13lb 6oz, caught by Jim Clohessy fishing out from Cork Harbour.

Well known Cork-based small boat specialist Jim Clohessy hit the jackpot recently with a potential new Irish record stone basse of 13lb 6oz. This fantastic fish exceeds the existing record of 11.72lb set in 2005 by UK angler Tony Rainer fishing out of Baltimore, Co Cork.

The stone basse (Polyprion americanus) is a relatively rare species and almost an unknown quantity for the Irish sea angler. They tend to swim close to the surface under boats or floating objects.

“I was fishing out from Cork harbour for whiting and haddock and hopeful for a hake, when I spied about 40 two-litre empty bottles wrapped up in a fishing net close to my boat,” he said.

After almost 20 years of advising anglers to be on the lookout for such a sight, he took a closer look. Maybe, this was his chance for a stone basse to be lingering under the jumbled up concoction.

“I first tried a lure without success and then switched to a joey mackerel. Suddenly, all hell broke loose as this dark brown fish came out from under the floating mass and grabbed the small mackerel,” he said.

The fish put up a fantastic fight before being brought on board, according to Jim, who now awaits ratification of the catch as a new Irish record from the Irish Specimen Fish Committee.

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

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