Anglers unite to oppose ‘catch and release’ plan

Lough Corrib: IFI 'catch and release' proposal.

A secret proposal by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to introduce a ‘catch and release’ policy for trout fishing on lakes in Galway and Mayo will be fiercely resisted by anglers.

And the introduction of a logbook reporting system on treasured lakes in the West also faces stiff resistance from local fishermen.

Currently anglers are allowed to take four trout (13 inches and over in length) per angler per day from the lakes but the IFI has also suggested in a memo to Government that this should be reduced.

The controversial plans were contained in emails from IFI CEO Ciaran Byrne to the Department of Environment and were released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Angling clubs in Connacht have vowed to resist the plans.

“Over our dead bodies will it happen,” warned Michael Donnellan of Oughterard Anglers.

The new plans, which could outlaw anglers from keeping the fish they catch, were contained in IFI’s observations at the Department about new byelaws that designated seven waters across Ireland as ‘Designated Salmonid Waters’, including Loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra in the Galway Fishery District.

Anglers welcomed the designations late last year, but are ‘on guard’ that IFI may push for further changes to trout fishing on those lakes under the guise of ‘conservation’.

In his email to the Department, Mr Byrne said: “Some of the other measures which could be considered include inter alia moving completely to catch and release angling for trout on designated lakes, introducing some form of measurement of angling effort, such as a logbook reporting system for these fisheries, reducing the current bag limit of four trout per angler per day.”
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see the January 11 edition of the Connacht Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.