IFI responds to criticism
The recent letter published in your magazine by Mr Dennis Moss (September 2018 issue) entitled “Ireland’s game-fisheries under threat” is littered with misleading statements and factual inaccuracies and Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few points. Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to deliver its remit to conserve, protect, develop, manage and promote Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea-angling resources. Inland Fisheries Ireland has not withdrawn from conservation works as alluded to by Mr Moss. Since 2011, along with doing conservation work itself, Inland Fisheries Ireland has made funding available to allow stakeholder involvement in both conservation and development works. We have delivered two million euros in additional funding since 2016 through the National Strategy for Angling Development. Both rounds of capital funding, 500,000 euros in December 2016 and 1.5 million euros in December 2017, were oversubscribed by stakeholders. Projects under the National Strategy for Angling Development funding are progressing as expected, which is encouraging given the complex nature of many of the projects. In addition, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Office of Public Works have an agreement in place to facilitate works and protect fisheries requirements in drained channels. As a State agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland operates to the required high standards of governance, both environmental and financial, and is held accountable for all of our activities. This is reflected in the rules pertaining to project work undertaken by Inland Fisheries Ireland itself as well as in third-party projects. Moss refers to our anglers as having no true stakeholding. UK trout-angling stakeholders must purchase a licence annually in order to enjoy trout angling and this provides a significant, and sustainable, source of income to that sector. This is not the case in Ireland, nor is it even a consideration. Funding for trout conservation and development works comes from the central exchequer, which means that Inland Fisheries Ireland is in direct competition with housing, health, education and other high-profile areas for limited funding. In addition, exchequer funding may only be spent on the specific use for which it was made available. In the case of the two rounds of funding via the National Strategy for Angling Development, “capital funding” was made available to IFI and therefore could only be spent on capital works: eg, angling access and improvement works, such as walkways, access roads etc. In order to have a longer-term maintenance programme, a significant and sustainable source of income for the sector should be identified. Regarding Atlantic salmon, unfortunately the species is in decline internationally due to wider environmental issues. Salmon anglers appreciate the strict management regimes that allow for salmon to be harvested from rivers where there is a surplus. They are the only angling group in Ireland that return a logbook of catch data, and this facilitates more informed management of salmon fisheries. Inland Fisheries Ireland is working in collaboration with fishery users, organisations and other state agencies to ensure that fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced, in a conservation-focused manner, for both their economic value
and the recreational benefit to the communities and visitors they serve across Ireland. Dr Ciaran Byrne, chief executive officer, Inland Fisheries Ireland
The Jock Scott, top right, was tied by well-known Hardy tyer, Paxi Saunders.