Eamon Ryan TD, Minister with responsibility for the Inland Fisheries sector, has approved legislation that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in 2021. These will come into effect from Friday 1 January 2021.
Minister Ryan said:
"We are opening 83 rivers for salmon and sea trout fishing in 2021. This will allow careful management of this important natural resource, for which conservation will be to the fore. In a positive trend, 49 of the rivers will be fully open, an increase of 20% on 2020, with a further 34 available on a 'catch and release' basis. Continued movement in a positive direction is only possible over time and is entirely dependent on everybody redoubling our conservation efforts in the face of environmental, climate and human impacts."
To inform the legislation for 2021, Minister Ryan received management advice from Inland Fisheries Ireland in relation to over 140 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland, which in turn was considered in the light of individual scientific assessments. The assessments were carried out by the Technical Expert Group on Salmon (TEGOS) an all-island independent scientific group comprising experts from a range of bodies.
This advice was also made available as part of a statutory public consultation process during which 33 written submissions from stakeholders were received.
Management advice based on the TEGOS assessment of rivers/estuaries/harbours is that:
49 rivers to be open as a surplus of fish has been identified in these rivers
34 rivers to be classified as open for 'catch and release' angling
64 rivers to be closed as they have no surplus of fish available
Minister Ryan said:
"Ireland is internationally recognised for prioritising the conservation imperative as fundamental to our salmon management efforts and our contribution to the continuing global initiative that is the International Year of the Salmon 2020 has been second to none. Environmental and climate change and human impacts continue to place salmon and other species at risk. I am determined that the innovations of International Year of the Salmon, which continue to bring people together to share knowledge and raise awareness, will endure. This is key to ensuring the resilience of salmon in Ireland and in the entire North Atlantic."
Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations S.I. No. 667 of 2020
These regulations provide for the quotas of fish that can be harvested by commercial fishing engines and rod and line from those rivers identified in Schedule 2. The Regulations also provide for the use of brown tags in specified (low surplus) rivers which are identified in Schedule 4.
Angling Bye-law No. 982 of 2020
This Bye-law prohibits the use of any fish hooks, other than single or double barbless hooks, and also prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for all species of fish in the waters specified in the Bye-law. This is to avoid the use of hooks and baits which are not conducive to fish survival and to ensure that the objective of C&R fishing is not frustrated.
Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Bag Limits) Bye-law No. 983 of 2020
Provides for an annual bag limit of 10 fish being either salmon or sea trout (over 40 cm) per angler and provides for a season bag limit of 3 fish in the period 1 January to 11 May, a daily bag limit of 3 fish from 12 May to 31 August and a daily bag limit of 1 fish from 1 September to the end of the season. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified numbers of fish have been caught in the specified periods.
Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Catch and Release) Bye-law No. 984 of 2020
Provides for catch and release in respect of salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in rivers that are meeting at least 50% of their Conservation Limit as mentioned in the Bye-law. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout over 40 cm.
Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Suir) Bye-law No. 986 of 2020
This Bye-law provides for catch and release in angling for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm) in the River Suir (including the waters of the Rivers Clodiagh, Lingaun and Blackwater) and also prohibits the use of worms, prawn, shrimp or any other crustacean, or artificial forms thereof, as bait and any fish hooks other than single or double barbless hooks during the period 17 March to 30 September.
Conservation of Sea Trout Bye-law No. 987 of 2020
This Bye-law provides for a daily bag limit of 3 sea trout (less than 40 cm in length) and provides for the use of single or double barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified number of sea trout have been caught.
Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Slaney) Bye-law No. 985 of 2020
This Bye-law provides for catch and release in angling for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm) in the River Slaney and also prohibits the use of worms, prawn, shrimp or any other crustacean, or artificial forms thereof, as bait and any fish hooks other than single or double barbless hooks.
Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers) Bye-law No. C.S. 331 of 2020
Prohibits the taking or attempting to take by rod and line salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in the rivers specified in the Bye-law.