Inland Fisheries Ireland to develop management plan for Western Lakes
INLAND Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and their habitats, has confirmed that it will develop a medium and long-term management plan for western lakes.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Communications has formally asked IFI to follow up on its proposal to develop an evidence-based management plan for the seven lakes and submit the plan’s timelines to the Ministry of here at the end of September.
The seven lakes in the Western Lakes Group are Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and Lough Carra (Galway Fishing District), Lough Cullin and Lough Conn (Mayo Fishing District), Lough Sheelin (Limerick Fishing District) and Lough Arrow (Sligo fishing district).
IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell said the plan will mainly focus on key areas such as biodiversity and the conservation of the whole ecosystem as a basis for the protection and development of stocks. wild salmonids in particular, such as wild brown trout.
He commented, “From our research to date, it is clear that the Western Lakes are under threat, and we must take action supported by the best available science to protect and maintain the unique status and long-term importance of these salmonid waters. The new management plan should inspire a positive vision for the future of the western lakes and serve to protect them, as they are topographically distinct waters in terms of salmonid habitat.
The Project Office and Research Division within Inland Fisheries Ireland are responsible for the development of the management plan. It will likely include watershed-scale surveys to identify fish population dynamics, salmonid habitat deficits, and water quality pressure points.
Where possible, habitat restoration and development projects will be carried out as well as vegetation management on lands and waters adjacent to lakes.
Managing invasive species, such as various coarse fish and water-lily, will also be an important part of the plan.
The emphasis on stakeholder engagement between state bodies, public officials, fishing clubs, conservation groups and local communities should also be a key element.
Mr O’Donnell added: “These lakes are among the last remaining wild brown trout fisheries in Western Europe, so it is essential that the plan is subject to rigorous environmental governance and that it takes into account ecological and socio-economic impacts. economic.
“Inland Fisheries Ireland is now keen to develop the details of the plan and implement the actions described, working closely with the department and all relevant state agencies and stakeholders.”