Trout Anglers Alarmed
Anglers are considering what action they should take after Inland Fisheries Ireland announced plans to discontinue operations at all of their fish farms and hatcheries. The National Anglers Representative Association (NARA) and ten other angler representative bodies learned of the plans after staff at these fish farms were informed that operations would cease. None of the eleven angler representative bodies were not consulted with in advance of the announcement and the planned closures are not mentioned in Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development. This announcement in effect means that more than 100 fisheries within the state will be unable to source trout to stock their waters.
At a recent meeting with one of the fisheries that will be effected, Inland Fisheries Ireland conceded that there is no alternative plan in place that will enable the demand for farmed trout to be met. Whilst a limited supply of rainbow trout can be purchased in Northern Ireland there is not alternative supplier of brown trout. Purchasing rainbow trout from outside of the State will also result in a loss of income tax for the Irish Exchequer.
A recent study which was conducted by Inland Fisheries Ireland calculated the economic contribution of angling to the Irish economy at over €836m per annum and stated that angling is also estimated to support in excess of 11,350 jobs. The loss of these fish farms will have a serious financial impact on the value of angling and it will result in job losses. The largest fishery likely to be affected is Lough Owel which is just outside Mullingar County Westmeath which has played host to numerous International angling competitions and serves 25% of the Irish population.
Inland Fisheries Ireland currently stocks a number of fisheries with both brown and rainbow trout. Anglers who use these fisheries pay a Managed Water Permit to Inland Fisheries Ireland. Angling clubs supplement this stocking programme by purchasing trout directly from IFI’s fish farm. The cost of purchasing additional trout if met through fundraising and membership subscriptions.
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