Geoffs Rant of the Week

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A very good friend who is well placed in the world of gaining information contacted me very recently and asked me if I knew the IFI were about to start a fish survey on Lough Ree. In fact the survey was due to start yesterday, Monday the 25th of Feb. They will be working out of Portrunny. Up front there is nothing sinister about the operation and it appears any members of the general public are welcome to pop along to have a chat. So far it sounds OK doesn’t it.

Over a period of time 200 nets will be dropped into the lough and what is caught will be recorded as part of the survey process. Now here is my grouse, they are using bloody gill nets.

Gill nets are the most out of date barbaric horrendous bits of shit I have ever had the misfortune to come across. The folk that actually put them down lack knowledge, any form of integrity towards the upkeep of fish stocks or  are just plain downright lazy.

I was a warranted bailiff for what was then Anglian Water which was and still is the largest water authority in the UK. I am going back now around 30 years. We never ever used a gill net to do fish surveys. It’s a fact that around 70% of fish caught in gill nets die on release or are dead before release.

We used nets which were around 200 metres long with what was called a ‘poke.’ The poke gathered the fish halfway down the net. It was bloody hard work pulling it in but almost every fish swam away after being counted, having a few scales removed and other samples taken by the AW scientist Dr Kris Klee.

Set aside the carnage which will be taking place on Lough Ree my friend also told me of the operations that are taking place on loughs such as Corrib and Masc. It appears Corrib, to quote an IFI official is ‘polluted’ with coarse fish. Thousands of specimen roach and loads of tench averaging 3lbs each are being systematically removed. Don’t you think the word ‘polluted’ weighs it all up. Referring to prime fish stocks as pollution is akin to calling Adolf Hitler the saviour of humanity. And yes you have guessed it. When they fish are caught they are all destroyed. I am also informed that gill nets are still being used on Lough Sheelin.

Now let me take you back a little.

On April the 13th 2004  a case was brought by the then Shannon Regional Fisheries Board against two men who the board caught removing coarse fish from gill nets on Sheelin. The case was brought before Judge John Neilan at Castle Pollard District Court. Solicitor for the board, Mr George V Maloney told Judge Neilan that the men were seen removing pike from the gill nets. The defendants were apprehended and had six dead fish, which the board admitted were all badly marked by being trapped in the gill nets.

Judge Neilan then expressed his concern about all the dead fish in the nets. He asked Mat Nolan, the representative for the ShRFB how this came about. Judge Neilan then asked Mr Nolan the mortality figures during such operations. Nolan admitted that 70% of the fish caught would die.

Visibly enraged the Judge asked Nolan if he thought this was the correct way for the ShRFB to act and told Nolan he was dismissing the case.

The Judge then commented, ‘You (ShRFB) should be prosecuted for cruelty. You are creating a greater difficulty than these people…go on…get out,’ he snapped.

Just goes to show doesn’t it. Nothing changes. The lunatics still run the madhouse! We all are aware of the poaching taking place by Eastern Europeans. They break the laws which the ShRFB (now IFI) implemented. The IFI continue to kill fish in their thousands in gill nets. They were also responsible for the anihalation of the chub on the river Inny. The so called guardians of our waterways remain the biggest murderers of all.

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