IFI launches scientific fisheries for Eel

IFI launches a network of scientific fisheries for Eel around Ireland and invites former Eel fishermen to get involved.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has today (23.03.16) announced that it is establishing a network of scientific fisheries for eel around Ireland. The scientific fisheries will be distributed in key catchments around Ireland (Barrow, Boyne, Corrib, Fane, Moy, Munster Blackwater, Waterford Harbour and the Shannon Estuary).
The purpose of the scientific fisheries is to increase the data and knowledge of eel in Ireland ahead of the 2018 EU review of our national eel management plan. The programme follows an announcement by Minister with responsibility for natural resources, Joe McHugh TD, last November of a new collaborative research initiative involving IFI scientists and former eel fishermen.
Announcing the programme, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Dr Ciaran Byrne, said: “IFI is delighted to be working with the eel fishermen in undertaking research on this enigmatic creature. IFI has experience in working with stakeholders in both the commercial and recreational fishing in relation to salmon, sea trout, bass and invasive species.”
IFI’s Head of Research, Dr Cathal Gallagher, said: “The programme presents a great opportunity for eel fishermen to work with IFI to get an understanding of the process involved in gathering data to undertake stock assessments. This research will investigate changes to the eel stock as a result of the poor recruitment of eel to Europe. Data from the lake surveys carried out by IFI indicate an absence of smaller eels that were present in surveys from the 1960s to the 1990s”.
The European eel is critically endangered and in 2007 the EU introduced a regulation requiring member states to implement management plans to help eel stocks recover. The latest advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is that all mortality affecting silver eels should be reduced to – or kept as close to – zero as possible. Ireland submitted a review of its managment measures to the EU in 2015. 
ccc IFI is seeking expressions of interest by former eel fishermen in the key locations. To get an information pack with details on how to apply, please visit http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/scientific-eel-fishery-2016.html, call 01 8842600 or email info@fisheriesireland.ie. The closing date for applications is 15th April 2016.