Funding of up to €1m available for fisheries conservation

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Inland Fisheries Ireland has launched an important public consultation on the future management of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme. The Head of Business Development with the state agency, Suzanne Campion is encouraging anyone with an interest in the area to submit their views on how the tagging system, which started in 2001, can be improved and modernised. The public consultation closes on December 1st and details on how to make a submission are available on www.fisheriesireland.ie. Photocredit: Peter Grogan, Emagine.

INLAND Fisheries Ireland, the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, has launched a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country.

Since 2016, more than €5 million in grants have been awarded to over 250 projects throughout Ireland under funds administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders in Limerick are now invited to apply for funding to support fisheries conservation projects through the 2022 ‘Habitats and Conservation’ scheme.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on habitat ‘rehabilitation’ and conservation, such as improving water quality, rehabilitating damaged habitats and helping fish overcome physical barriers, like impassable weirs.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has welcomed the funding call and is encouraging eligible groups and stakeholders in Limerick to apply.

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He said: “The Habitats and Conservation Scheme is a great example of how we can encourage and support the stewardship role of managing our natural resources across the country. This important environmental scheme supports angling clubs, fishery owners, and stakeholders – in helping them to improve damaged habitats, water quality and fish passage.

“The works and studies supported by the scheme in the future will also result in wider benefits for the environment. As the funding call is now open, I would encourage any eligible group or stakeholder in Limerick to contact Inland Fisheries Ireland and express their interest in applying for this grant before the deadline.”

In 2021, a total of €785,604 in funding was approved for 18 projects, based in Limerick, Laois, Kilkenny, Galway, Donegal, Cork, Mayo, Roscommon, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow. Examples included the construction of rock ramp passages, to make it easier for fish to migrate upstream and downstream of impassable weirs and the installation of fencing to improve water quality. This was done by stopping livestock from entering the river and providing them with alternative sources of drinking water.

Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said that protecting and conserving fish species, like Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout, was critical to the overall health of the country’s eco-system.

She commented: “Damaged riverine habitats can lead to poorer water quality, climate change can lead to rising water temperatures and invasive species can mean even more threats to biodiversity. These are having a damaging impact on our rivers and lakes and on all species that depend on them for survival. Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, made possible through fishing licence income, groups in Limerick can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures that benefit the conservation of freshwater fish and habitats.”

An information guide about the Habitats and Conservation Funding Call 2022 is available to download from www.fisheriesireland.ie/services/funding. As part of a new two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on Inland Fisheries Ireland’s online grant management portal before 5.30pm on Friday, December 17. After the expression of interest has been completed, full applications must then be submitted to Inland Fisheries Ireland via the online grant management portal by 5.30pm on Friday, January 28, 2022.