February 17th, 2013
O’Dowd Urges Anglers to Continue Fight against Harmful Invasive Species
IFI’s Angler Disinfection Kit a World First
The fight to stop the spread of Invasive Aquatic Species in Ireland took to the front-line yesterday with the launch by Minister Fergus O Dowd of an Individual Angler Disinfection Kit – the first of its type in the world. The kits were produced by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and funded by the CIRB (Controlling Invasives, Restoring Biodersity) INTERREG IVA Project. They were launched at the Ireland Angling Show in the National Show Centre, Swords yesterday.
The kit is available in a durable and convenient kit bag and comprises
20 Virkon Aquatic (50 g) tablets,
- a 500 ml plastic trigger spray bottle,
- disposable gloves,
- a stiff bristle brush for cleaning boots, etc.,
- a practical instruction manual
- invasive species identification cards on a handy key ring,
- a metal ‘Stop the spread of invasive species’ badge,
- and an array of useful and relevant invasive species literature.
This Kit is now available from IFI. It will help ensure that pernicious aquatic invasive species are not spread by unsuspecting anglers as they move from one watercourse to another.
In recent years IFI has worked closely with anglers’ federations, clubs and other grouping to ensure that they are aware of the risks posed by aquatic invasive species and of actions that they can take to minimise the risk of introducing or spreading these aggressive and potentially harmful species. Invasive species include aquatic plants, animals (insects and fish) and microscopic pathogens.
The Minister said “Disinfection facilities have been developed by IFI to cater for large groups of anglers attending organised competitions and these have been well received. However, there are many anglers who do not fish competitions and who like to seek the solace of a quite water body where they can test their skills against the resident fish or simply watch a float as it bobbles in the water”. “We want to raise awareness among these anglers and help them in the same way as competition anglers to guard against the introduction or spread of invasive species or harmful pathogens”, he added.
Logistically it is impossible to provide disinfection facilities at every watercourse in the country to cater for all of our anglers, a different approach was required. IFI recognised the long standing responsibility taken on by anglers protect and not adversely impact the aquatic habitat or water quality. IFI are providing anglers with a portable kit to make disinfection more efficient and cost effective. The IFI kit will cover disinfection for up to 20 fishing trips.
At the show, Minister O Dowd demonstrated the kit with the assistance of Dr Joe Caffrey of IFI. To show how individual disinfection of angler’s equipment and clothing is relatively simple and can prevent highly damaging invasive species such as Asian clam and Zebra mussel, and fish pathogens like the salmon fluke Gyrodactylus from being transferred into un-infested water bodies.
Congratulating IFI and CIRB on this simple but effective initiative Minister O Dowd commented that ‘as I meet more and more anglers around the country I am struck by your enthusiasm, knowledge, expertise and environmental responsibility . As a budding angler myself I look forward to using this kit and I know that you will embrace this initiative to ensure that fishing as we know it now can continue and improve under our watch, safe from the introduction of hazardous invasive pathogens, plants and animals’.
Minister O Dowd spent time at the Ireland Angling Show after first presenting awards at the Irish Specimen Fish Committee Awards ceremony in Bewleys Airport Hotel.
Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. IFI promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on, the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. It also develops and advises the Minister on policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling. www.fisheriesireland.ie
CIRB – Controlling Invasives, Restoring Biodiversity Project – The CIRB project aims to control four invasive riparian plant species that are particularly significant in threatening biodiversity in Ireland and Scotland: Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Rhododendron. All four were originally introduced as ornamentals but now threaten the riparian (and broader) habitat due to their ability to rapidly and effectively exploit these habitats by outcompeting native species. Seasonal die back of three of these invasive species in winter leaves extensive areas of riverbank bare and more susceptible to erosion. In addition, Giant Hogweed contains toxic sap that is considered to be a serious and significant danger to public health.
The project which is part financed the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and part financed by the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Ireland).
The project runs for 4 years (2011-2015) in order to manage and control effectively the regrowth that occurs from the soil seed bank and rhizomes.
Photos are available to accompany this news release. Kindly contact Suzanne Campion. Photos will go directly to preassigned picture desks from Fennell Photography.