Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Fisheries Protection 2016 Review highlights the results of protection work undertaken on the country’s freshwater fisheries resource which contributes €836m annually to the economy.

IFI angling

Fisheries Inspector Lorraine O’Donnell, Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief executive IFI; Minister Sean Kyne and Fisheries Inspector Michael Hennessy

Launching the Review, Sean Kyne, Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, commended IFI personnel for their dedicated efforts in protecting Ireland’s “invaluable” inland fisheries resource.

“The vast array of river, lake and coastal based habitats present huge logistical challenges for our front-line protection staff and for IFI management. These challenges are being met by augmenting traditional patrol and protection methods with state-of-the-art surveillance technologies and new and innovative patrol methods in the ever-changing environment in which services are delivered.”

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said the agency’s role was to act as stewards of the inland fisheries resource:

“That role is crucial as we endeavour to protect and conserve Ireland’s aquatic habitat and the wild, indigenous fish populations who live within it. Our fisheries and environmental officers work relentlessly to ensure the continued availability of this resource to communities nationwide for recreational and business opportunities.”

According to Dr Byrne, Ireland’s inland fisheries resource comprises 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and 5,500 kilometres of coastline that contribute €836m annually to the economy, and supportes rural and peripheral communities through tourism opportunities which may not be there otherwise.

“Our ‘National Strategy for Angling Development’ outlines how we can grow the economic contribution by an additional €96m per year, and our protection programme goes hand-in-hand in helping us realise those ambitions.”

Throughout 2016, IFI invested over €1m in angling development projects. This included 50 angling access development projects as part of the Capital Grants Fund, as well as ongoing investment in more than 4,000 angling structures.

Key findings:

• 103 prosecution cases initiated for breaches of fisheries and environmental legislation

• 1,487 items of illegal fishing equipment seized – including 301 illegal fishing nets measuring in total 14,782 metres

• 22,066 environmental inspections of sites including farms, industrial premises, wastewater plants, forestry sites, wind farms as well as general inspections for pollutants in the natural habitat

• 36,979 inspections of recreational anglers undertaken nationwide to ensure compliancy with the fisheries acts, which aim to protect fish populations

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