Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Donal Hickey: New season unlikely to see ease in depletion of salmon stocks

http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/outdoors/donal-hickey/donal-hickey-new-season-unlikely-to-see-ease-in-depletion-of-salmon-stocks-433639.html



WHEN the salmon fishing season opens next month, anglers will be on the lookout for signs of a continuing decline in stocks, which have been falling dramatically, writes Donal Hickey.
Inland Fisheries Institute (IFI) has reported the number of fishing passing through counters, in recent years, has been the lowest since 2002.
At this stage, scientists regard climate change as, perhaps, the biggest threat to the wild Atlantic salmon, voicing serious concerns about the Arctic ice melt.
For many decades, we’ve seen pollution, over-fishing and diseases being cited as major threats to the species, which has declined by more than 60% in 40 years.
Not as much is yet known about the effects of climate change, but research shows a rise in water temperatures results in reduced salmon growth and survival.
A drop in ice cover also has adverse effects on salmon habitat.
The biggest impact is on the likely salmon range moving northwards.
Many stocks in traditional salmon fishing areas along the east coasts of the US and Canada have been decimated, but there are still viable stocks in Norway, Russia, and Iceland, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Higher temperatures can also create better conditions for disease-carrying parasites and also reduce the prey on which salmon feed, forcing salmon to travel further for food, with more deaths at sea resulting.
More rainfall arising from climate change means more water drains into waterways, clogging up rivers and, possibly, causing more pollution and siltation.
Scientists are referring to the diminishing albedo effect.
Albedo is a measure of how well the earth’s surface reflects sunlight.
Snow-covered sea ice has a high albedo and reflects 85% of sunlight.
However, the open water exposed as ice melts is darker and absorbs more, reflecting 7%.
The less sunlight is reflected, the more heat the planet absorbs.
Professor Jennifer Francis, from Rutgers University, New Jersey, was quoted recently, in the CarbonBrief website, saying that losing reflective sea ice can, in turn, speed up surface warming.
“As sea ice retreats, sunshine that would have been reflected back to space by the bright ice is instead absorbed by the ocean, which heats up, melting even more ice,” she said.
US researchers are reporting sea ice cover to be at its lowest since they started measuring in 1978.
We are also feeling the effects of what’s happening a long way from Ireland, with the IFI revealing only 5% of salmon which go to sea are returning to rivers to spawn compared to 15%, 30 years ago.
Little wonder salmon are extinct in many rivers.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Calling for a prohibition on pair-trawling in coastal waters

The Irish Wildlife Trust said

Pair trawling is a fishing practice involving two boats dragging between them a single large net with small meshing. It is an activity which has lately been going on in sheltered inshore bays and estuaries along the west coast - many of which are protected for nature conservation (eg Kenmare Bay). 


Pair trawling targets sprat which goes on to be processed into fish meal. Sprat is a small fish which forms large shoals and is a keystone of the marine ecosystem being food for larger fish such as cod, as well as sea birds. Not only does pair trawling sieve the water of food for other marine life, it also has the potential to catch seals, dolphins or anything else in its path such as migrating salmon or spawning sea bass.

IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty says "catching sprat to be ground up for fish meal is insane. It's a wanton destruction of the whole marine ecosystem, frequency in areas which are supposed to be protected for wildlife."
Large fishmeal plants (both constructed and planned) operate in the expectation that boarfish (a small fish unexploited until recently) would provide the raw materials. However boarfish catches have declined sharply in recent years so there is significant pressure to find replacement feed. 

It is important therefore that this practice is prohibited in order to preserve coastal areas for marine life and other users who depend on the resource. The practice highlights the unsustainable nature of fish farming at sea, which relies on the wasteful use of wild caught fish for feed.

Off The Scales Fishing Magazine said 

Yes, this is happening right now in Cork Harbour. Second day of this in the upper harbour, near Little Island. Apparently the official word is they are "fishing for sprat" but of course bass, mullet and salmon (which are running at the moment) will also inevitably be caught as by-catch. This is disgraceful but deplorably not illegal, as Ireland offers basically ZERO PROTECTION t
o inshore/estuarine nursery areas or waters. This MUST change!

Lobbying must be stepped up, more people need to work together on this cause - or else nothing will change and there will be NOTHING left for future generations. Anglers are one of very few groups who actually care about protecting the seas. It is our responsibility and duty to try our best to save our seas, our fish and our environment. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Inland Fisheries Ireland calls for vigilance and protection of waterways as high quality river sites in significant decline

State of the Environment’ report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows areas for concern as well as highlighting progress made to date
Tuesday, 8th November 2016: Inland Fisheries Ireland is calling for continued vigilance on Ireland’s rivers and lakes following the latest ‘State of the Environment Report’ from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The report shows that there has been a substantial loss in the number of highest quality river sites.
According to the report, only 21 sites were classified as the highest quality rivers (0.7% of sites) in most recent monitoring period (2013-2015). This compares with 575 sites between 1987-1990 and 82 sites between 2001-2003. In addition, 18% of monitored rivers and 27% of monitored lakes were defined as less than good status due to fish ecological status – monitored and reported on by Inland Fisheries Ireland. Preliminary assessment suggests that barriers to fish migration and physical deterioration of habitats may be partly to blame.
Between 2010 and 2012, there were also 70 fish kills reported. However serious pollution of rivers has fallen to just over six kilometres compared to 17 kilometres in 2010-2012 and 53 kilometres in 2007-2009.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The loss of high quality rivers is of concern to Inland Fisheries Ireland as anything which affects the aquatic environment of fish can have impact on our fisheries resource. We need to protect our fish populations and conserve our resource for the next generation.
The long term conservation of the resource requires the maintenance of healthy and ecologically viable ecosystems.  This includes monitoring and protecting the water quality, removing barriers to fish migration, improving land management practices which cause adverse physical changes to fisheries habitat, managing changes in water quantity and flow and controlling invasive alien species.”
Dr Byrne continued: “The fisheries resource is worth €836 million annually to the Irish economy and supports over 11,000 jobs often in rural and peripheral communities. We have over 273,000 domestic anglers currently in Ireland and in 2015, 163,000 international visitors fished here. Angling and the fisheries resource, if developed in a conservation focused manner, offers huge recreational and economic potential for Ireland now and into the future.
We have some of the best wild fisheries in Europe and water quality in Ireland still compares favourably with our European neighbours. However, the dramatic reduction in the number of our pristine rivers is a wake-up call which we need to address.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Fisheries Officers and Environmental Officers work throughout the year, both day and night, to police and protect Ireland’s natural resource. They monitor for water pollution and any illegal fishing activity which could have a negative impact on fish populations and their habitat.
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.
For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie.To read the ‘State of the Environment’ Report from the Environmental Protection Agency, visit www.epa.ie .

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Shocking photographs of the OPW "Brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River, Dunmanway

Friends of the Irish Environment is today (07-09-2016) publishing a Report obtained under Access to Information on the Environment showing shocking photographs of the Office of Public Works’ brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River beside Dunmanway’s Long Bridge in September 2015. 

The site is host to a dense colony of the protected fresh water pearl mussel, and the Report details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil.’ Subsequent reports by the National Parks and Wildlife Service include photographs showing the river entirely overwhelming the silt fences put in place to prevent erosion. 

Friends of the Irish Environment has written to the Minister, highlighting the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures. The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country. 

FIE Photographic Report   /    OPW Report   /   Letter to the Minister


Friday, 23 September 2016

Fisherman threatens to sue OPW over ‘destroyed’ fishing pool


Article Published on Mayo News 20 September 2016 http://www.mayonews.ie/news/28576-fisherman-threatens-to-sue-opw-over-destroyed-fishing-pool

A CORK fisherman is threatening to sue the Office of Public Works, claiming it destroyed a fishing pool adjacent to his property on the River Moy. Tim O’Mahony claims that work the OPW carried out on the river last year resulted in 300 tonnes of silt running back into the river and destroying the pool, known as Howley’s Pool located on the River Moy between Swinford and Foxford.

The Cork resident owns a fishing lodge beside the pool, which he hires out to anglers. Claiming it is now unsafe to fish along the river bank, he says his business has suffered as a result.
“It is dangerous to walk along the bank because of what the OPW has done,” he told The Mayo News. “I was told they [OPW] are entitled to do whatever they wanted and there is nothing I can do about it. What they have done is horrific. The pool is no longer a pool … it is gone.”
Mr O’Mahony explained that the OPW extracted silt from the river last September and built up the riverbanks. However, he said once heavy rain arrived in November the silt and soil from the bank flowed back into the river, and he claimed this has destroyed the fishing pool.

“I went up around October and they [the OPW] had nearly finished. It looked a fabulous job, but I knew straight away when I saw cracks in the bank that it was going to go. A couple of weeks later it was all back into the river—and this was before the major floods. The bank and the pool has been totally destroyed. It makes me sick to even talk about it. It is sick to think that a government body created this mess,” he said.

Mr O’Mahony said he has been fishing on the Moy for over 30 years and bought the house beside Howley’s Pool ten years ago. He says fishermen would fly in from all over Europe and stay at his house to fish on the Moy. He has met with the OPW and Minister of State, Seán Canny, to try to get the river restored, but he says he has been left frustrated by their lack of urgency.
He has now engaged a firm of solicitors and has threatened to sue the OPW unless they come up with a plan to restore the pool.

“We are giving them seven weeks to come up with a plan to rectify the damage that has been done. This has been going on for nearly a year, and if they do not come up with a plan we will have to sue the OPW,” he said.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Fishing Etiquette Comparisons

Combat Fishing
I've been wanting to write something, anything on fishing etiquette for some time but have not got around to it. So lets start, what is fishing etiquette, why is it so important and read the comparisons from around the world on it.

I think fishing etiquette can be best described as a set of basic rules of common conduct and courtesy while fishing. If you are a visitor or new angler to an area its best practice to ask first what the local etiquette is around fishing. It can be so easy to unintentionally step on someone's toes or cause an annoyance. Fishing etiquette, if followed correctly ensures there is harmony and cuts down on conflict or annoyance to others while enjoying a peaceful and tranquil past time.

I've gathered some interesting articles from different sources that outline the different points of Etiquette. Some are universal while other points differ.

https://rootsrated.com/stories/unwritten-rules-fly-fishing-etiquette

http://www.theonlinefisherman.com/469-boating-articles-on-theonlinefishermancom/4905-fishing-101-etiquette

http://www.limerickanddistrictanglersassociation.com/fishingetiquette.htm

https://mysterytacklebox.com/blog/fishing-etiquette-101-6-rules-for-respect-on-the-water

http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/community/post/fishing-etiquette

http://www.trout-fly-fishing.com/fly-fishing-etiquette.html