Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, has welcomed the development by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ) of a specific stock management plan for Galway’s Owenriff system aimed at removing pike from the system as a significant step forward.
Stock management operations are normally commenced in February each year and the Owenriff plan will be implemented for 2018.
Minister Kyne said he met recently with the Board and senior management of Inland Fisheries Ireland to discuss this, and other issues, and it has now been agreed that, in line with current policy, a stock management plan explicitly for the Owenriff will be implemented in a more intensive focus on the system to facilitate the recovery of the salmonid populations.
It has also been agreed that IFI will continue to implement a stock management programme for the entire Corrib catchment, in line with its current policy, he added.
The Minister also welcomed confirmation by Inland Fisheries Ireland that the results of a fish population survey of the Owenriff system, which was undertaken during the summer of 2017, will be reported on in January 2018.
Dr. Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development, at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said they have listened to local stakeholders and staff in relation to threats posed to salmon and trout populations in the Owenriff, a tributary of Lough Corrib.
“To understand the scale of the isues reported and to support evidence-based management, Inland Fisheries Ireland conducted a fish population survey in late June and late July 2017. We have since worked in the laboratory and with relevant analytical tools to understand the dynamics of the fish stocks in this catchment. We have also reviewed mitigation actions that could be taken to restore damage incurred by specific stocks. A proposed rehabilitation plan for the system will be delivered in parallel to the fish stock survey report,” he added.
As part of its research into fish population in the Owenriff system, IFI surveyed 17 river sites and two lakes using standard fish population sampling methods. Inland Fisheries Ireland staff are currently analysing the data and comparing it to data from previous surveys and neighbouring catchments to determine the status of the fish stocks and to assess change.
A fish stock survey report, which will be available in January, will document important metrics, including fish species richness, fish abudance, lenght frequency, age and growth, fish ecological status, etc. Supported by analysis of the survey results, and taking account of the ecology of specific systems, Inland Fisheries Ireland will also deliver a detailed plan which will focus on the rehabilitation of endangered fish populations in this important catchment. This will include plans to maintain the genetic diversity of salmon and trout stocks in the Owenriff catchment.