Wild brown trout anglers are to step up pressure on western politicians and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ) as part of their campaign to save trout in western lakes from predator pike.
Over 200 anglers from all over Connacht were present at the launch of the Connacht Angling Council’s ‘Pike Are Predators – Save our Wild Brown Trout’ campaign at the Boat Inn, Oughterard, last night.
Keynote speaker, London-based environmental scientist, Dr Roderick O’Sullivan stated that stocks of larger, catchable wild brown trout have diminished rapidly in western waters due to the presence of predator pike.
“The eco-systems of Irish wild brown trout fisheries at Loughs Corrib (Galway ), Mask (Mayo ), Carra (Mayo ), Conn (Mayo ), Cullin (Mayo ), Arrow (Sligo/Roscommon ), and Sheelin (Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Longford ) are under serious threat from predator pike. Stocks of wild brown trout are facing wipe out in West of Ireland lakes due to the proliferation of predator pike. If this is allowed happen, the implications for the eco-system of western fisheries and the local tourism economy will be enormous.”
Martin Kinneavy, chairperson of the Connacht Angling Council said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ) is currently reviewing its policy regarding control of predator pike. 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.
“Wild brown trout angling is worth €148m per year to the Irish economy but predator pike are eating wild brown trout stocks like never before. Predator pike are far more prolific breeders than wild brown trout and a predator pike will eat as much as 40lbs of wild brown trout per year.
“In their Pike Policy Document of 2014, IFI pointed out that tourist revenue from wild brown trout angling far outweighs that from predator pike fishing. Wild brown trout fisheries are unique eco-systems and need to be protected by law, otherwise, we are staring at a wipe out of wild brown trout. Wild brown trout fisheries should be managed exclusively for the benefit of wild brown trout.”
The launch heard that trout anglers will now move to lobby politicians and are submitting the following points to Inland Fisheries Ireland as part of the IFI’s Pike review;
- Inland Fisheries Ireland must maintain its bye-laws in relation to the gill netting and electro fishing of predator pike for the pike spawning season.
- A closed season for all fishing needs to be introduced from September 30 to February 15, excluding events covered under section 59 of the Fisheries Act.
- There must be an immediate predator pike cull and severe penalties for the importation of live bait.
- Inland Fisheries Ireland should establish a fully staffed and full-time office in Galway to deal with issues around wild brown trout, salmon, seatrout, and eels, as the West of Ireland is a renowned breeding ground for all of these species.