This consultation closes on December 1st, 2021.

Background
 
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is the State Agency responsible for the protection, management, and conservation of the inland fisheries resource (Inland Fisheries Act, 2010, S7(1)). A significant part of this responsibility extends to the protection, management and conservation of Irelands wild salmon populations.

As part of the sustainable management of this species, several actions have been taken in recent decades which aim to ensure that stocks of salmon are not over exploited by either recreational anglers or commercial fishermen. Systematic monitoring of recreational angling and commercial fishing activity and the volume of fish harvesting is necessary for sustainable management, as there is evidence that overexploited fisheries rarely recover after collapse.

In this regard, commercial salmon fishing was curtailed in the early 2000’s and a ban exploiting mixed stocks of salmon at sea (drift netting) was implemented in 2006 for the 2007 salmon fishing season. While the salmon fishery has been licensed for some time, to further protect salmon populations a carcass tagging, and logbook scheme was introduced in 2002.

Statutory Instrument (SI) 215/2002, the ‘Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations’ provided for all salmon caught and killed either by commercial fishermen or recreational anglers to be tagged and a log of the catch be retained and reported through a logbook scheme. IFI and its predecessor bodies the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards were responsible for the management of the tagging and logbook scheme.

The schedules to S.I. 215/2002 outlining how many salmon and sea trout can be taken, initially in each Fishery District, and more recently in each river open for catch and kill salmon angling, are updated on an annual basis, following public consultation.
 
Current Situation - Recreational Angling

The salmon angling season opens on the majority of Irish rivers on various dates in February, March, April and May. For a small number, the start date is January 1st, and the majority of rivers close to salmon angling on September 30th.

The bigger fish known as spring salmon tend to run in the early months of the year and weigh an average of four kilogrammes/nine pounds (Angling Ireland, 2018), and as these are a unique component of the salmon stock additional harvest regulations are in place to protect this element of the salmon stock.

Generally, the biggest run of salmon occurs in the summer months although many Irish rivers also have large runs of salmon at the beginning of the autumn. Recreational anglers are now the primary exploiters of Ireland’s wild salmon resources. Angler logbook returns are a key source of data on angler catch and combined with other biological data sources, e.g., fish counters, stocks in individual rivers are assessed, conservation limit thresholds established, and where appropriate, total allowable catches assigned.

With respect to rod angling, when fishing for salmon and sea trout in Ireland a State licence is required. At present there are several different types of licences that anglers can choose from, differing by time and geographical location:

• Annual, all-districts
• Annual, district-specific (one only of 17 fishery districts/regions)
• Annual, juvenile (below 18 years old), all districts
• 21 day, all-districts
• 1 day, all-districts
• Foyle area extension (equivalent of an Annual, All-districts licence restricted to holders of a full Foyle licence issued through the Loughs Agency)
• Other special local licences

A fishing permit or club membership may also be required for angling at some locations. The principal aims of the tagging scheme are to provide accurate nominal catch

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