Dr William Roche, co-author and Senior Research Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) commented: “The Irish Specimen Fish Atlas offers a different insight into fish populations here, and shows where quality fish - of many distinctive species - can be caught by anglers in the productive waters within, and around, the island of Ireland.
“This accessible publication identifies many Irish waters where and when big fish have been, and are still being, caught.
“But it also reveals a drop in numbers of large individual fish in about 40% of species. Some ‘newer’ ones, such as thick-lipped mullet, are improving, but more ‘traditional’ species, including cod and salmon, are in decline.
“The decrease in numbers of large fish of some species is concerning although not consistent across the board. The reasons for these declines are varied and complex.
“For commercial marine species over-exploitation may be a factor. Non-commercial marine species are vulnerable to pressures such as being caught unintentionally as by-catch.
“Pressures on freshwater fish vary from catchment to catchment, and may include deterioration of water quality, the presence of dams and weirs, and reduced habitat quality.
“However, overall there are plenty of species providing quality specimen angling, and offering great scope for enjoyment of being outdoors and fishing on rivers, lakes and/or marine waters which characterise many parts of Ireland.”