THE LAST CAST with Jarlath Gallagher

New partnership will help conserve fisheries resource

Jarlath Gallagher

Reporter:

Jarlath Gallagher

New partnership will help conserve fisheries resource

A fantastic picture of an angler enjoying the good weather

Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Office of Public Works, Flood Risk Management Unit have signed a new shared service agreement which will see them continue to work collaboratively over the next five years in the protection of fishery requirements while carrying out flood risk management investment activities.

The agreement will see both parties work closely together to help ensure the country’s statutory drainage objectives are achieved with a focus on the protection of fishery habitats and resources.

The OPW is the lead statutory body for Drainage Maintenance and Flood Risk Management (FRM) in the State while Inland Fisheries Ireland is the statutory body responsible for the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource.

The agreement, which spans from 2018 until 2022, has been secured at a time when Government investment in flood risk management operations is increasing. It follows the recent publication of the Government’s Flood Risk Management Plans which will see some €1 billion in funding under the National Development Plan invested in projects across the country to mitigate flood risk.

This new partnership formalises the historical working relationship between the two organisations and commits them to continuing their positive engagement for Ireland’s fishery habitats and resources.

Under the agreement, both parties will work across the Environmental River Enhancement Programme (EREP) and will focus on:

A series of scientific investigations to further understand environmental impacts of river maintenance works.

Development of best practice to minimise environmental impacts and maximise environmental gain of river maintenance and flood relief activities.

Work programme to identify barriers to fish passage on arterially drained rivers that have potential for improvements works.

Work elements to assist achieving so that all waters will attain ‘Good’ ecological status by a specified date, as per the Water Framework Directive.

The aim is to provide a science-based platform to the IFI-OPW linkages. For example, scientific investigations will provide an evidence base for determining the appropriateness or otherwise of undertaking physical river enhancement works in locations to bring about improved Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) scores. Facilitated by Inland Fisheries Ireland surveys, an EQR will be generated for the fish community and the physical form of the river at each site. This will inform all requests to OPW from third parties, such as angling clubs or community groups, to undertake such works. Inland Fisheries Ireland will be taking a prioritised approach in undertaking surveys and could handle a small number of cases annually.

For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie and to learn about the Office of Public Works, visit www.opw.ie.

Appeal to Anglers and Fishery Managers as hot weather continues

Inland Fisheries Ireland is appealing to anglers and fishery managers to voluntarily cease salmon angling on catch and release rivers with immediate effect due to high water temperatures and the current drought conditions.

The agency also advises for conservation purposes on open rivers, anglers should cease angling once their daily bag limit is reached. With regard to keep nets on coarse fisheries, the agency advises that this practice should be suspended at this time. Inland Fisheries Ireland will monitor the situation and issue updates as appropriate.

Should the current weather conditions continue, Inland Fisheries Ireland may consider the introduction of emergency conservation legislation.