Stock Management

For your convenience we have placed all our information relevant to stock management on this page in the form of an FAQ - please scroll down to see each question and answer...

Stock Management 2018


Inland Fisheries Ireland wishes to remind interested parties that the health and safety of our staff is of paramount concern and we look forward to your cooperation in ensuring any public observing operations maintain safe distances and do not obstruct staff undertaking their duties.

Exact times and locations of operations will not be published as these will take place where weather and water conditions allow.

  • Why is there a need for stock management operations? +

    Stock Management is undertaken/required on certain waters for the conservation of wild brown trout in waters which are managed by IFI as wild brown trout fisheries. Such waters are identified in IFIs pike and trout management policies. These stock management operations are informed by scientific research, are based on best practice and carried out in accordance with IFIs pike and trout management policies under strict standard operating procedures. 

    Further information on the above policies and standard operating procedure can be obtained at

    Further information on the operating procedures for stock management through gillnetting and electrofishing can be found here:

    The research used to inform the policies is available here:

    Map indicating where pike management operations are conducted

    Map of managed pike lakes
    A map showing where pike management operations are conducted
  • Where will pike management operations be carried out? +

    Pike management operations are only carried out on 7 lakes in Ireland. These are:

    • Loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra
    • Lough Conn and Cullen
    • Lough Sheelin
    • Lough Arrow

    Netting operations on Cullen have been suspended pending an evaluation of new electrofishing techniques.

    Map of managed pike lakes
    A map showing where pike management operations are conducted
  • Are all pike being culled +

    No. Inland Fisheries Ireland does not indiscriminately kill pike but conducts surveys and implements stock management programmes in accordance with our management policy on a small number of lakes which are designated by IFI as wild brown trout fisheries. 

    Why is pike management required? Is it effective?

    IFI have conducted surveys and scientific studies over a number of decades, in relation to the impact of predation by pike on wild Brown Trout. Based on the best available scientific advice, IFI have identified a number of internationally important wild Brown Trout fisheries upon which pike management will be conducted. This management regime aims to sustain optimum stock densities of Brown Trout so that they continue to function as premier trout angling resources.

    Many years of pike management operations on this small number of designated trout lakes has demonstrated that pike management operations have been extremely effective at maintaining good stock densities of trout. Research pertaining to pike management on wild brown trout fisheries is on-going both in Ireland and internationally.

  • Are all pike captured during stock management operations being killed? +

    No, not all pike are killed during stock management operations. Where possible all pike over 85cm considered fit and likely to survive are released unharmed. When the larger electrofishing boat is being utilised and weather conditions are suitable pike under 85cms considered fit and likely to survive may be retained for transfer to another lake – should one be available. Unfortunately, a number of unavoidable casualties are sustained during these operations. Pike that are unlikely to survive are euthanized by IFI staff. This is done in a humane manner as set out under the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Pike management operations.

    Further information on the operating procedures for stock management through gillnetting and electrofishing can be found here:

  • How were these policies formulated? +

    The substantive body of work was undertaken by Policy Development Groups comprised of relevant IFI staff and members of the key stakeholder groups. Each of the groups was chaired by a Senior Research Officer from IFI. In the case of the pike and trout polices stakeholders representing each angling discipline (pike angling and trout angling) were represented on each policy group. Inputs were then received from the National Inland Fisheries Forum, the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources and also other relevant State Agencies.

  • How can the policy recommendations be changed +

    The current pike and trout policies are for a period of three years from the date of launch. Thse will be reviewed after 3 years. The policy review process will be set out in advance of the review and submissions may be submitted through the appropriate channel at that time.

  • Are there any legislative changes being proposed regarding pike management? +

    Yes, certain changes are proposed in the two policies referred to above. In the event that there is a legislative change please participate in the relevant consultative process at the time which will be advertised in the National media and on the IFI website.

  • How many pike have been killed in this year’s operations? +

    During stock management operations on occasions pike are removed and when pike are euthanized records are maintained and at the end of the year will be made available on the IFI website. Details of this year’s stock management are available online at (page to be developed)

  • Is it possible to look into the tanks or board IFI boats during operations or assist in the operations? +

    Due to the hazardous nature of the work and the dangers present we are unable to allow you to enter the work areas. Under health and safety regulations you must remain at least 20 metres from the work area. If you wish to observe management operations, you may do so only from a safe distance.

  • Is there a supervisor/spokesperson who can explain procedures during operations? +

    Each operational area has a designated person who will be happy to answer questions . This person will be able to provide contact details for management should you require further information. Furthermore comments, compliments or complaints may be registered on 

    A list of IFI offices can be found at the link below 

  • What happens to the fish that are killed? +

    A proportion of fish taken during stock management operations will be used for scientific purposes. Each fish will be measured, weighed, aged and have their stomach contents examined. This information will be analysed to provide information on the age cohorts of each fish species present, their relative growth rates, their feeding patterns and other relevant information. Fish scales will be retained for possible subsequent genetic or other use. Any fish in excess of those required for scientific research will be disposed of using an approved animal rendering service.

  • How can comments, compliments or complaints regarding the implementation of the pike policy be registered with IFI? +

    Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) wants to provide you with the best possible service. There may be times when you think we can improve our service and/or there may be times you want to tell us about something you are not happy about. 

    Whatever age you are, you have rights including:

    • the right to have your say and be listened to.
    • the right to complain if you are not happy about something we have done.

    You may submit your comment, compliment or complaint by following the procedure outlined at the link below.

  • The practice of pike management varies considerably from that which takes place in the UK. Why is this? +

    Pike management operations carried out by IFI are specifically for stock management in the context of large Irish wild brown trout lakes, which are an ecologically unique resource in western Europe. Very different to anything in the UK because the ecological balance of fish stocks in various waters in the UK, are mostly either coarse fisheries or put & take rainbow trout fisheries.



    Optimal trout stocks are maintained in specifically designated waters for both angling and conservation purposes. This provides substantial tourism benefits to local economies. There are a vast number of other suitable lakes where pike numbers are not reduced and these mixed fisheries similarly provide tourism and recreational benefits in their own regions.

  • What is the duration of the 2016 stock management programme?  +

    Management operations (gill netting)take place during February, March and April with a maximum of four weeks spent in each of the trout lakes with the exception of Lough Cullin(all electrofishing). Intermittent electrofishing operations are carried out thereafter on the six lakes throughout the late spring/summer period and target mainly juvenile pike. 


  • I have seen footage on Youtube, when was this recorded? +

    The footage recently released on Youtube was recorded in March 2015. The operations occurred on a managed wild brown trout lake and were being carried out as a result of agreed pike and trout policies adopted by IFI and angling stakeholder groups in 2014. 


  • Has anything changed since the Youtube recording was made? +

    All stock management operations ceased  and IFI produced an SOP to improve standards. Officers also received training in fish handling and working on operations in potentially hostile circumstances. IFI recommenced operations in March 2016 and these operations will be carried out in in line with the standard operating procedures, going forward.


  • I consider the use of gill netting inappropriate in modern fisheries management, why is it acceptable to IFI? +

    IFI has prepared two Standard Operating Procedures and once equipment is in place will be moving towards the use of electrofishing where possible. Gill nets are used extensively for fisheries research across Europe.  Often gill nets are used for commercial pike fishing, recreational netting and stock management is a number of European countries such as Sweden and UK/Northern Ireland. 


  • What happens to the trout and coarse fish caught in the gill nets? +

    Any trout which are expected to survive are released after removal from the nets.

  • Are figures available for coarse fish? +

        Perch Roach Bream
    2012 Corrib 172 2413  
    Mask 30 394  
    Carra 86 0  
      288 2807  
    2013 Corrib 28 370  
    Mask 25 101  
    Carra 70 3  
      123 474  
    2014 Corrib 141 1076  
    Mask 21 516  
    Carra 65 0  
      227 1592  
    2015 Corrib 107 765 70
    Mask 36 88 20
    Carra 104 0 0
      247 853 90
  • Does IFI know the economic value of Pike and Trout angling ? +

  • How much does the stock management programme cost? +

  • Where can I view research regarding Pike management? +

  • Why are anglers permitted to kill trout in the lakes where trout stocks are of concern? +

    Trout stocks on the managed wild brown trout are not considered to be threatened. The principal aim of pike management operations is to maintain optimum trout stock densities for angling and conservation purposes. Some trout anglers retain fish for their own consumption but catch and release is now commonly practiced. IFI promotes catch and release, however legislation would be required to make it mandatory. 


  • I thought that gill nets are banned in the EU.Is this not the case? +

    Gill nets are not banned in the EU. They are used extensively for fisheries research across Europe.  Often gill nets are used for commercial pike fishing, recreational netting and stock management is a number of European countries such as Sweden and UK/Northern Ireland. 


  • Why are IFI allowed to take pike in contravention of the Pike Bye-laws. +

    IFI have an exemption in relation to taking fish in all Irish waters, this is for research and  management purposes. There is also a plan to modify the current Bye-laws to permit anglers to take pike from the designated wild brown trout fisheries, as recommended in the current policies.


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