Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water

Only in Ireland will we spend €110,000 establishing the value of recreational angling while continuing to abuse and destroy the very resource which enables the pursuit. Analysis of the recently published Tourism Development International report put the direct value of sea angling to include domestic and tourism receipts at €127.5 million. With income from tourism sea angling amounting to €33 million, a figure which if a more focused marketing approach was implemented could be increased greatly, why at Government level do we still continue to not recognise the product category, but instead continue to view sea angling as just an add on bonus.

Let us preserve pollack like this.

Since 2005 I have been taking at least two sea angling breaks a year shore fishing in West Cork, staying in B/B’s and or self catering. Through this website yours truly has championed the quality sea fishing that this beautiful exposed south west corner of Ireland has to offer. Over the last three trips a decline in fish size and numbers has become evident on the marks that I fish, so much so that I started to ask questions, the result is sad and can only be described as two fingers being raised from both certain local people and official Ireland towards those who cherish and support this wild rural area.

Wrasse now targeted for the Chinese market.

At the start of 2013 this writer was criticised for publishing a piece assessing Ireland’s Tourism Sea Angling Product entitled “Reading Between the Lines“, as if the piece was treasonous. Eight months on I stand by what I wrote all the more. On some West Cork rock marks that I frequent wrasse are being targeted and according to my research gill netted for the Chinese market, pollack also are being gill netted so much so that the average size on certain locations has dropped dramatically, grey mullet, normally prodigious, where nowhere to be seen on my most recent visit, and the few patches of inshore clean ground are now being trawled, where not three years ago specimen dab abounded there is now little or nothing.

Specimen dab for Dave Hoskins from Plymouth.

Where once the fleet from Castletownbere went offshore and the only inshore fishing noticeable was potting, now apparently according to a very trust worthy local source anything goes, from commercial jigging to setting gill nets so close to the rocks in search of wrasse that they are exposed at low tide. I’ll say no more, instead I’ll quote the English and Northern Irish tourists.

“Trawlers were working close to shore. No sign of mullet anywhere. This and the lack of decent pollack is a real worry. I am inclined to Dave’s (Dave Hoskin’s a tourist sea angler from Plymouth) view that this is a result of commercial overfishing as it is a dramatic deterioration and we have seen the evidence of the trawling”. Roger Ball, UK tourist angler.

we used to go to dingle in kerry every year for a bass session, but have given up on that side now due to the illegal netting. it’s all getting a bit out of hand now ffs. and sadly the locals know who the culprits are but nothing ever seems to get done about it“. Al Marsden, Nth Ireland, (lifted from Henry Gilbey’s Facebook page, 03/09/2013

there seems to be more commercial activity locally, I saw the average size of pollack decrease every year since I started operating”. John Angles, ex charter skipper.

Further reading: Postscript to Reading Between the Lines.

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