DESPITE near perfect conditions the first salmon of the 2017 season has yet to be caught. Dozens of anglers made the trip to the river Drowes, just across the border in Leitrim, for the opening day on January 1 but nothing had come to the net by the time daylight failed around 4.00pm. The river has consistently produced the first fish of the year – often on opening day. Salmon fishing opens in Northern Ireland’s Lough Melvin on February 1 and a good run of fish in the Drowes, which drains the lough, is considered a good sign of a productive start to the season.
Drowes River, Co. Leitrim – © Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Meanwhile fisheries Sean Kyne has approved new regulations and bye-laws that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in the Irish Republic These came into effect on January 1.
“In all, 73 rivers will open for angling activity in 2017 and this will provide opportunities for all to share this important natural resource on a sustainable basis. Some 46 of these rivers will be fully open with a further 27 for angling on a catch and release basis only.”
The Minister has also directed that Inland Fisheries Ireland carry out a full review of the Catch and Release element of fisheries management policy ahead of the 2018 season.
“Ireland has been managing fisheries in accordance with the scientific advice since 2006 and that will continue. However, I am keen that after 10 years, the catch and release element of the policy is examined to explore whether changes might actually benefit the management of our fisheries.”
Minister Kyne received management advice in relation to over 140 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland in advance of setting out the legislation for 2017. This advice was also made available as part of a public consultation process. This was based on the scientific assessment of the current status of all stocks carried out by the independent Standing Scientific Committee on Salmon. This committee comprises scientists from IFI, an Bord Iascaigh Mhara the Marine Institute, the Loughs Agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI- Northern Ireland) other State bodies and third level institutions.
Over 90 submissions were considered as part of the public consultation process.