13 July 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The presence of non-native invasive species in Co Monaghan’s angling lakes and rivers was a much more significant threat to fish stocks than overfishing, Monaghan Co Council were told at their July meeting when they received a presentation from the Chief Executive of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Dr Ciaran Byrne, and Peter Walsh, Secretary of the Irish Angling Development Alliance.
Mr Walsh declared that invasive species were “the greatest single threat to our resources without parallel”, and outlined moves to create invasive-free zones in Co Monaghan and to have newly drafted legislation in this regard enshrined in local bye-laws.
Dr Byrne in his presentation expressed the view that the chances of damaging Co Monaghan’s stock of coarse fish species by overfishing were slim, as such species were prolific and replenished themselves very quickly.
“Our biologists tell us that many of Monaghan’s lakes and rivers are absolutely teeming with fish,” he pointed out.
However, he conceded that the number of anglers who were visiting the county had reduced in number, and their overall catch was smaller.
“While there are plenty of fish, the catch composition is changing, and they might not necessarily be the fish that anglers want to catch,” he commented.
Dr Byrne agreed that the biggest threat to the county’s coarse fish stocks was invasive species. There were 2,216 hectares of lakes in Co Monaghan and 1,400 kilometres of river, and while illegal fishing was going on, it was not as bad as some people made out. Last year eight calls to report illegal fishing in Co Monaghan were received by Inland Fisheries Ireland’s hotline, while there was one call relating to the selling of poached fish.
Tourist angling in the county had been impacted by changes in the marketplace, he believed. “We are now competing internationally, and the biggest competitor in the course fishing market is Holland.”
He thought that Ireland had to an extent priced itself out of the market during the Celtic Tiger era, and there was now a need to re-engage with a new generation of young anglers, as the angler profile had changed significantly. There was also a need to streamline legislation, he added.
During members’ comments on Dr Byrne’s presentation, Independent councillor Seamus Treanor referred …

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