Lady Justice, Dublin Castle

Our legislation

The foundation of our work to protect, manage and conserve Ireland's inland fisheries is legislation, supported by powers granted under various laws and EU Directives.

Inland Fisheries Act 2010

This act established Inland Fisheries Ireland (lascach Intíre Éireann) and defined its functions as the state agency responsible for the conservation, protection, management, marketing, development and improvement of our inland fisheries and sea angling resources. Ireland has over 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and around 128,000 hectares of lakes, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of Inland Fisheries Island.

Our protection and conservation activities

In the delivery of our functions to protect and conserve our fisheries resource, which includes both fish and their habitats, our responsibility extends to inland surface waters and inshore waters within 12 miles of the shore. The range of species we help protect includes all freshwater fish, along with certain marine species such as Bass and native oysters.

The statutory powers of our field staff are derived from the following legislation:

Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959 and additional legislation to 2017

This Act provides for the conservation and management of both freshwater and marine fishes in and around Ireland. It covers areas such as the use of gear and fishing restrictions, including trade in fish. Furthermore, it outlines the Minister’s regulation-making powers.

Local Government and Water Pollution Acts 1977 & 1990

In addition to enforcing the provisions of the Fisheries Acts, we are empowered to ensure that the quality of freshwater habitats is maintained through the enforcement of specific Sections of the Water Pollution Acts 1977 & 1990.

Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006

Some staff are authorised to function as Sea Fisheries Protection Officers under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006, in order to enforce the statutory provisions for the control of fisheries for Bass and Bluefin Tuna within Irish territorial seas and internal waters.

EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)

The Water Framework Directive is European Union legislation that was transposed into Irish law in 2003. Its main purpose is for member states to manage their water resources and protect aquatic ecosystems. In doing so, it is each country’s responsibility to improve and maintain the quality of all waterbodies to at least “good” status.

This legislation links to a number of other EU directives including those protecting biodiversity, those relating to specific uses of water and those regulating activities within the environment.

EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC)

The Habitats Directive is one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation dealing with the conservation of threatened species and habitats across the European Union. This Directive lists a range of animals, plants and habitats in need of protection and has established a network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) across Europe.

Member states are obliged to monitor and report on the conservation status of listed species and habitats, taking into account relevant pressures and threats, as well as the effect of conservation measures.