Ex ministers intervene in pike control campaign

The Connacht Angling Council has welcomed the intervention of two former Government ministers in their campaign to strengthen pike control in western fisheries with the aim of protecting threatened wild brown trout stocks.

Former ministers Éamon Ó Cuív and Sean Canney have both publicly intervened, expressing concerns for the future of the west’s wild brown trout lakes.

Deputy Canney was speaking at a public meeting in Loughrea, where more than 200 gathered to voice concerns about the future management of Lough Rea.

The Galway East TD told the meeting he was worried about a lack of information from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ), which was currently preparing an interim report on pike management, with a final report due in the New Year.

Since 1938, Loughrea Angling Club has kept pike numbers in Lough Rea under control - at its own expense – but IFI has refused the club permission to continue yearly netting of pike.

The meeting was addressed by London-based conservationist, Dr Roderick O’Sullivan, who said the eco-systems of wild brown trout fisheries at Loughs Corrib and Rea (Galway ), Mask (Mayo ), Carra (Mayo ), Conn (Mayo ), Cullin (Mayo ), Arrow (Sligo/Roscommon ) and Sheelin (Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Longford ) were under serious threat from pike.

“Stocks of wild brown trout are facing decimation in west of Ireland lakes if pike numbers are allowed to spiral out of control. The implications for the eco-system of western fisheries and the tourism economy will be enormous. States in the US understand the threat of pike and are spending vast sums to keep them out,” Dr O’Sullivan added.

Meanwhile, the Connacht Angling Council’s campaign has received a further boost with the backing of Éamon Ó Cuív.

The Galway West TD called on the Minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, Seán Kyne, to declare the preservation of trout stocks a policy priority.

“He must make this ministerial statement before the review is completed. There’s no point in doing a review based on ground works that are not clearly based,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

Welcoming the intervention of the former ministers and calling for urgent meetings with Minister Kyne and IFI chairperson Fintan Gorman, Martin Kinneavy, chairperson of the Connacht Angling Council, said west of Ireland anglers were deeply concerned Inland Fisheries Ireland was already rowing back on pike control in advance of a relaxation of the existing bye-laws and wanted an immediate pike cull.

“The Connacht Angling Council will do all in its power to ensure that our world famous Irish wild brown trout fisheries are protected by law from predator pike so they can reach their full trout angling potential."

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