Angling across the country has virtually ground to a halt. The final curtain came down following HSE and Government advice in relation to halting Covid-19, which promoted Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to announce the closure of all its managed fisheries.
Permit and licence sales are no longer for sale online, and approved distributors are recommended not to sell IFI licences or permits.
At present, there are no specific restrictions placed on recreational angling under the guidelines. However, those intending to fish must adhere to the latest precautionary advice on coronavirus, as published at www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html.
Lough Sheelin closure
Fisheries officer Brenda Montgomery eloquently brought closure to Lough Sheelin: “This lough, along with many more, was proving a haven from a world that is currently in a dark place. But this aquatic escapism came to an abrupt end for many anglers when, on March 26th, the Taoiseach announced a lockdown which advised that people remain at home and only leave for essential duties with a 2km limit within their own locality for exercise.
“To most of us who have been following the steady progression of Covid-19, the announcement should not have come as a surprise but still, when it came, it felt like a kick in the solar plexus, shredding our already frayed nerves and feeling as if another piece of our world had been taken from us.
“Lough Sheelin with all its mercurial magic, will of course be returned to us eventually and so, like fishing, we must exercise patience for the good of all.”
Throughout last week and with careful adherence to Government guidelines on distancing, a respectable number of anglers fished Sheelin with some lovely trout recorded.
The heaviest fish of the week weighed 6½lb and was caught by Dublin angler Franciszek Mazur on a black and silver minkie at Crover. Overall, 43 were recorded.
Appeal over fertiliser-spreading season
An appeal to farmers to remain vigilant during the fertiliser-spreading season to avoid water pollution and loss of nutrients into rivers, lakes and other watercourses, has been issued by IFI.
The call comes on the back of data for 2019 which indicate that 20 fish kills were recorded compared to 40 in 2018. Also noteworthy is the EPA’s recent report which found a decline in surface water quality, especially in rivers, which identified nutrient pollution as the main problem.
To prevent waters from pollution when land-spreading, IFI is advising farmers to refer to good agricultural practice regulations guidance (www.agriculture.gov.ie).
Dr Forde, head of operations, said: “Livestock manure, organic fertilisers, effluents and soiled water have the potential to cause devastating pollution in our streams and rivers. Such effluent is a highly-toxic substance, starving fish and aquatic life of oxygen, resulting in severe fish kills if it enters a watercourse.”
A confidential hotline number is available to the public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing: 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.