Western anglers welcome Government's u-turn on pike protection

A lengthy campaign by anglers to protect Lough Corrib's wild trout against pike has succeeded.

The Government has agreed to give special protection to wild brown trout in the western lakes, rescinding a bye-law to protect pike in these waters.

It follows an 18 month-long campaign by Connacht anglers to ensure the protection of wild brown trout in the lakes and to halt the proliferation of predator pike, which can each eat up to 20kgs of wild brown trout in western fisheries each year.

The new bye-law was drafted by former Minister of State with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, Seán Kyne, before his promotion to Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht.

Martin Kinneavy, chairperson of Connacht Angling Council, says the move will now protect trout angling in the western lakes.

“We are delighted Minister Kyne took on board our grave concerns regarding the future of wild brown trout stocks in western lakes,” Martin Kinneavy says. "There is now a sincere and genuine commitment to develop wild brown trout stocks in western lakes and a copper-fastened strategy to deal with the threat of predator pike.

“Our world famous Irish wild brown trout fisheries are now protected by law from pike and can reach their full trout angling potential."

Mr Kinneavy says west of Ireland wild brown trout waters are internationally recognised as the best in the world, and angling is worth €148m a year to the Irish economy.

“The bulk of that money is spent in the west, where it is badly needed. Minister Kyne recognised that west of Ireland wild brown trout fisheries are unique eco-systems and need to be protected as such by law.

“We are grateful he has done so, otherwise, we would be staring at further severe damage to wild brown trout stocks in the region.”

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, has signed the new bye-law ensuring the great western limestone Loughs of Carra, Conn, Cullin and Mask (Mayo ), Corrib (Galway ), Arrow (Sligo/Roscommon ) and Sheelin (Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Longford ), will now be managed exclusively for the benefit of wild brown trout.

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