PIKE FANS were celebrating last week after angling groups got a controversial pike culling law stopped.

The Irish Pike Society and the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs managed to get an annulment by the High Court in Dublin for the Designated Salmonid Waters Bye-Law, which was aiming to protect game fish.

This bye-law had been put through by Irish minister for communications, climate action and environment Richard Bruton.

It would have allowed four Irish pike of any size per angler per day on Loughs Corrib, Mask, Carra, Conn, Cullin and Arrow.

Irish Pike Society secretary Paul Byrne (pictured above) said: “The decision will be welcomed by national angling bodies, tourism organisations, and local businesses.

“It was apparent from the outset that the bye-law, which allowed for the ecologically devastating depletion of Ireland’s previously statutorily protected pike population, was based on uninformed views and that there was no scientific basis for the provisions contained in it.

“Recent research carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland, the statutory body for the management of Ireland’s inland fisheries, found that pike feed primarily on species other than salmonid fish.

“The available scientific evidence also showed that the bye-law would in fact be hugely detrimental to salmonid stocks.

“A detailed report from Dr Bruno Broughton, an internationally renowned fisheries management consultant, severely criticised the bye-law on a number of grounds.”

A culled Irish pike at Lough Corrib. Pike anglers and other coarse fishing fans are keen to stop game anglers killing the species.

A culled Irish pike at Lough Corrib. Pike anglers and other coarse fishing fans are keen to stop game anglers killing the species.


More work to do to protect Irish pike

The battle to protect Irish pike is far from over now, despite the crucial court victory.

Paul explained: “Despite the defeat of the bye-law, the arguments for it, which promote the daily killing of thousands of pike in over 30 per cent of Irish waterways, are still used to justify pike culling practices.

“The practice of ‘gill-netting’ is still used by Inland Fisheries Ireland to reduce pike levels.

“This involves thousands of meters of net being strung across shallow bays to capture and kill pike as they travel to their spawning beds,” concluded Paul.

Ian Forde, chairman of the Irish Pike Society, added: “We welcome the decision of the High Court, which is the result of a massive effort from federations, clubs and individual anglers who raised funds to mount a challenge to the bye-law by way of a statutory appeal.

“This is a good decision for anglers in Ireland – not only pike anglers, but also trout anglers, and the visiting tourists who spend close to €800 million Euros every year in our economy.”

Angler’s Mail columnist Neville Fickling said: “It is brilliant news but wait for the possible backlash – the pike haters won’t give up yet.

“But this shows the Irish government that pike anglers have the people and funds to challenge such insanity,” added the Lincolnshire pike ace and regular Ireland visitor.

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