New legislation to strengthen existing measures to protect the native white-clawed crayfish, has been welcomed by Inland Fisheries Ireland. The regulations will provide authorities with powers to prevent the spread of five non-native species included on the European Union list of invasive alien species of EU concern.
White-clawed crayfish are a globally threatened species and Ireland holds one of the largest populations. The species is found in many rivers and lakes and is protected under Irish law and the EU Habitats Directive.
Throughout Europe, the species has been decimated by the impact of a disease called crayfish plague. North American crayfish are resistant to this water mould and can act as carriers, which is fatal when passed to the white-clawed crayfish.
While there is no evidence that North American or other non-native crayfish have been introduced to Ireland, the crayfish plague has now reached five rivers in Ireland, possibly by spores carried on fishing equipment.
The public is asked to alert authorities of any mass mortalities of crayfish or sightings of unusual crayfish by contacting the National Parks and Wildlife Service npws.ie, National Biodiversity Data Centre biodiversityireland.ie or fisheriesireland.ie.
Rare shellfish found in Milford Haven estuary
Divers from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have found a very rare shellfish in Milford Haven estuary. The fan shell (Atrina fragilis) was found whilst divers were monitoring the condition of a large seagrass bed. This is currently the only known living example in Wales as it has not been spotted in Welsh waters since the 1960s.
The shellfish is one of the largest in Britain and can grow to more than 45cm in length. Despite its large size, it is very fragile and one of the UK’s most threatened molluscs.
Fan shells provide a point of attachment for many other marine organisms creating reef-like micro habitats in the sediments in which they live.
Mike Camplin of NRW said: “This shellfish was found in the Pembrokeshire marine special area of conservation and measures to reduce anchoring and mooring activity around the seagrass bed will help promote recovery.”
Safety guidelines reminder
Anglers are reminded to follow safety guidelines when fishing. Three anglers have drowned in Ireland so far this year, according to the Irish Water Safety.
Last year, 109 people drowned in Irish waters. This equates to nine deaths every month, with many drownings happening quickly, silently and in shallow water. Of the 109 drownings, 84 were male and 24 female.
Anglers often have to deal with changing conditions and are asked to follow some vital safety precautions before setting out. These include: always wear a life jacket; follow advice on warning signs; don’t take any risks; check the weather forecast and tide tables; let someone know where you’re going; take a charged mobile phone; and wear appropriate clothing.
An angling website and information booklet Safety on the Water – Angling Water Safety Guidelines, which details guidelines around safety on lakes and sea, is available at fishinginireland.info.
Annamoe hosts trout fishing league competition
Annamoe Trout Fishery in Co Wicklow held the first of four winter league competitions recently in heavy rain but mild and calm conditions. This is the 12th year to stage the event and, once again, Southside Angling is the main sponsor.
A total of 65 trout were landed, measured and safely returned. The first five anglers from each heat qualify to fish in the final and the remaining heats (all Saturdays) are on November 10th and 24th, with the final on December 8th.
Heat 1 results: 1, H Smith, 11 fish, 468cm; 2, R Bujak, 9f, 393cm; 3, N Madden, 6f, 267cm; 4, P Civkel, 5f, 218cm; 5, I Saraz, 5f, 213cm. Enquiries to Brian Nally at 086-259 8563.
Fly-fishing extravaganza in Galway
Ireland’s biggest fly-fishing extravaganza will again host leading fly dressers, fly casters and angling celebrities at the ninth Irish Fly Fair and International Angling Show in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, on November 10th and 11th.
“This is the undisputed best fly fishing show in Ireland and one not to be missed. Please come along and give your support, angling needs feel-good events like this,” event organiser Stevie Munn said. For more details contact Stevie at email@example.com.