The Natural Resource
What We Do
Ireland's International “Green Image” is very precious. It is greatly dependant on the water quality flowing through our rivers and lakes.
The abundance and variety of fish species available for sporting and commercial purposes in our freshwater and inshore fisheries is a clear barometer of this image.
Healthy stocks of wild fish indicate a healthy environment and as part of our heritage must be protected.
The South Western Regional Fisheries Board
It is the responsibility of the South Western Regional Fisheries Board to maintain the abundance and variety of species available and to ensure that our fish can live in a clean, healthy environment. Our freshwater species are most vulnerable – particularly stocks of game fish which include salmon, sea trout, brown trout and char. Our wild Atlantic salmon stocks require particular attention as they are heavily exploited through a range of commercial fisheries as well as by rod and line. Other species also require protection – bream, rudd, tench, pike, and bass.
The Board's Resource
The Board's area of responsibility extends out to the 12 mile limit beyond which the navy are responsible for the protection of fisheries. Approx 30 of the Board's permanent staff are engaged in protection and they are augmented by up to 10 temporary staff during peak periods.
At sea we use 2 large patrol vessels, all over 16m in length which stay at sea for extended periods and are principally used to police the drift netting for salmon. In addition we have 3 medium sized inflatable R.I.B.s (up to 6.5m) deployed around the coast. These are high speed open-decked craft and are used primarily on salmon protection at sea, in estuaries and on the larger lakes. They are also used to monitor the mollusc fisheries.
Because of the implicit dangers involved in these operations staff receive training in all aspects of fisheries management.
River and Lake Patrols
Anglers fishing for salmon or sea trout require a state licence. Other measures such as close seasons, bag limits and fishing method restrictions are in place to conserve the stocks of salmon sea trout, brown trout, char, pike and bass. In all these cases anglers are checked by routine bank and shore and sea patrols. Board officers also monitor sales outlets for salmon and other species to check compliance with regulations.
The South Western Regional Fisheries Board employs two Fisheries Environmental Officers to assist with the development of the fishes habitat. They word with other Board staff in combatting water pollution. They also assess development proposals which can effect the aquatic environment and seek preventative measures through the local authorities planning and development process. Much of their work is of long term benefit by ensuring that fish stocks can live in a stress free habitat.