IRELAND’S lucrative angling tourist trade could be in jeopardy after the government proposed introducing a controversial new byelaw.

Ireland pike anglers are incensed by the move which would increase the number of pike that can be killed in its top predator fishing areas.

Anger and hostility between coarse and trout anglers has increased to the point where it could possibly spill over.

The proposed measure will increase the daily limit from one to four pike in a large area of the west of Ireland where seven large loughs are being designated as trout and salmon fisheries.

This is in addition to the extensive gill netting in those areas to get rid of Ireland pike stocks… and other unwanted coarse fish.

This controversial practice has been under formal review by Inland Fisheries Ireland for a considerable time with the result long overdue and is introducing the new measure before this has even been announced.

The designated trout and salmon waters are Lough Sheelin in Limerick, Loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra in Galway, Loughs Conn and Cullin in Ballina, and Sligo’s Lough Arrow.

Lincolnshire tackle shop owner Neville Fickling, who has often targeted Ireland pike, reacted: “To be frank I would be worried about going pike fishing now to those parts of Ireland for fear of my property being damaged as feeling is running that high.

“If this measure goes ahead there will be very few large pike left to catch there so it will hardly be worth going.

“Trout anglers are determined to destroy pike even though scientific evidence says that they can coexist with little impact on the trout fishing and numbers.

“They even deny the independent scientific research proving that pike have existed in Ireland for 10,000 years and try to claim they are an alien species,” he added.

Ireland pike row anger increases

Irish angling guide Geoff Cooper explained: “There is a real anger the like of which I haven’t witnessed since the government attempted to bring in rod licences here all those years ago.

“To be honest we are now having a problem holding some of the lads back from doing something a bit silly.

“We created a social media group called Anglers Against Fine Gael and got over 5,000 members in less than 48 hours.

“The pike review should have been published last August. Personally I think the IFI are running scared. We guess what’s in it and it will be another knife in coarse anglers’ backs.

“The Government minister responsible, Sean Kyne, has a constituency that borders on the Western Lakes. He is led by a small group of trout mad anti-pike brigade. I believe we call it cronyism.

Ireland pike slaughter - could this happen even more than now?

Ireland pike slaughter – could this happen even more than now?

“The IFI and this nut are destroying angling tourism and one of Ireland’s greatest assets – our pike and coarse fish stocks. This lunacy has got to stop,” he concluded.

Huge area to be hit by Ireland pike change

THE Irish Pike Society has been campaigning strongly against the mass slaughter of pike by gill netting.

It’s been giving detailed evidence to the fishery management review, and helping organise petitions and protest marches to parliament and government offices in Dublin over the past two years.

A spokesman said: “Angling tourism is on its knees in this country and this will make it even worse.

“If this bylaw is passed, the Neanderthals have won and gone will be the giant pike from the west of Ireland, the trout will also be damaged as the perch shoals grow and grow.

“The common refrain from proponents who wish to see ‘management’ of pike on the so-called designated waters is that it only affects seven loughs.

“Well, let’s nail that one with facts. There are 144,000 hectares of freshwater in the Republic of Ireland. These seven Loughs comprise 37,500 hectares.

“This constitutes 26 per cent of the total water in the country. So forget their disingenuous argument,” he concluded.

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