Wisdom needed to restore Ireland’s salmon populations

Angling Notes: Minister visits river Erriff to hear concerns over fewer returning salmon

Minister of State Seán Canney speaking at Aasleagh Falls on the river Erriff

Minister of State Seán Canney speaking at Aasleagh Falls on the river Erriff

 

The Minister of State with responsibility for inland fisheries, Seán Canney, visited the river Erriff recently to understand more about the issues facing salmon in this, the International Year of the Salmon.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has designated the Erriff as the national salmonid index catchment. Salmon and sea trout migrating upstream must pass through fish counting and trapping facilities located at Aasleagh Falls, where the river flows into Killary Harbour.

Since 1985, smolts and kelts migrating downstream pass through a trap located below Tawnyard Lough. The facilities at this research station are used for a wide range of scientific research and monitoring activities on salmonid populations and their migratory behaviour.

Mr Canney met with Dr Ciaran Byrne, IFI’s CEO, who outlined that managers and scientists have been concerned for a number of years about the declining number of salmon returning to the Irish coast.

In the mid-1970s, almost 1.7 million were estimated to have returned to Ireland compared to approximately 250,000 today. Salmon are a key indicator species and tell much about the health of the aquatic environment.

The Minister commented: “International Year of the Salmon offers us an opportunity to start an important conversation around how we can protect, conserve and restore salmon populations in Irish and international waters.

“I am delighted to see the excellent facility here in the Erriff. This ongoing scientific research adds to our understanding of the issues facing salmon and will inform Ireland’s position as part of the EU delegation in discussions which will shortly take place at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation [Nasco].”

New faces on fisheries board

Seán Canney, Minister of State at the Department of Rural & Community Development, recently appointed Seamus Boland, Michael McGreal and Marie Louise Heffernan to the Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In welcoming these appointments, the Minister said: “These successful candidates will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the board. Mr Boland and Mr McGreal particularly in the areas of corporate governance and organisational development and change management, and Ms Heffernan in the areas of environmental and biodiversity matters.”

These appointments were made pursuant to Section 12 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010 and in accordance with the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards.

Aaron Philpott remembered in emotional outing

The large gathering at the Suicide and Mental Health Awareness competition at Oaklands Lake, New Ross, Co Wexford
The large gathering at the Suicide and Mental Health Awareness competition at Oaklands Lake, New Ross, Co Wexford

“This year we dedicate today’s event to the memory of a lost member of our angling community, Aaron Philpott,” said an emotional Stephen O’Flanagan, as he presented Aaron’s family with a hand-painted portrait at the fishing outing in aid of suicide and mental health awareness, at Oaklands Lake in New Ross, Co Wexford.

Now in its fifth year, Saturday’s event raised a massive €3,456, by far the highest amount collected to date.

“I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who took time out to get involved, including our many sponsors. Without you all it would be impossible to keep going,” O’Flanagan said.

The competition itself attracted 54 anglers – seven teams of four and 26 individuals. In the first 10 minutes the fish were in a feeding frenzy, with almost everyone finding success. However, all went quiet across the lake after that, resulting in a low return at weigh-in.

Team category results: 1, East Belfast, 208.7lbs; 2, Oaklands, 146.12lbs; 3, Team Sensas, 145.3lbs. Individual: 1, Ivaylo Benov, 50.8lbs; 2, Brian Broomfield, 45.13lbs; 3, Kieran Reeves, 35.2lbs. Under-18s: 1, John Brown, 22.12lbs; 2, Luke Mulcahy, 14.3lbs; 3, Shauna Byrne, 5.13lbs.

Rain gets Lough Inagh up and running

Fisheries manager Colin Folan with a 4.5lb grilse from the Corloo beat on Lough Inagh
Fisheries manager Colin Folan with a 4.5lb grilse from the Corloo beat on Lough Inagh

Lough Inagh in Recess, Co Galway is, at last, up and running. Plenty of rain has the fishery in flood and the salmon have arrived. Fisheries manager Colin Folan landed the first grilse of the season from the Corloo beat on a size 10 Haugur pattern.

“The fishery is in great order and rods are available,” he said. Info and bookings to hotel reception at 095-34706 or inagh@iol.ie.

Scottish author unlocks the secrets of loch fishing

Acclaimed author Stan Headley will launch his new book on loch fishing at the Galway Game Fair this weekend (June 15th & 16th). Irish anglers will be first to see the new book by the Scottish fly-fishing international, entitled Reflections on the Loch: Tales, Tactics and Top Flies for Loch Trout.

Headley shares the secrets of a lifetime spent fishing for wild trout on Irish and Scottish loughs. His knowledge of freshwater ecology, weather patterns, geology, fly-tying and habits of wild trout enables him to offer sound explanations of where, when and how to fish successfully.

Game Fair director Albert Titterington said: “The book is beautifully illustrated by Peter Gathercole who, together with [noted fly-fishers] supplied the evocative photographs of angling locations. Now every angler at the fair will have an opportunity to see this amazing book by a recognised angling maestro.”

The publisher, Paul Morgan of Coch-y-Bonddu Books, will have advance copies with him and the book can be ordered now at anglebooks.com. Price: €28 .

Blackwater welcomes young anglers

The Blackwater Salmon Fishery will host a young persons’ day on Saturday June 22nd. The day will focus on the importance of clean water, fish, insects and safety around water.

There are still a few places available. Parents and guardians are welcome to help out on the day. Meet at Kilmurry Hut for a 10am start. Booking is essential by emailing glenda@glendapowellguiding.com. Sat nav co-ordinates to Kilmurry Hut: 52.146229, -8.178155.

angling@irishtimes.com

derekvevans@gmail.com

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