The Depletion of salmon stocks on the River Nore is costing Kilkenny and the surrounding areas potentially millions of Euro in lost revenue each year, effecting towns and villages in Kilkenny.
That's according to the Kilkenny Anglers Association who have the fishing rights around Brownsbarn Bridge between Inistioge and Thomastown.
They feel Inistioge could become the hub for tourists angling on the Nore, bringing much needed revenue and jobs for local young people and the community if salmon stocks are protected.
“The River Nore has also the potential to create much needed employment in Thomastown, Bennettsbridge and Kilkenny city. “These much needed sustainable jobs are being put at risk from the over exploitation of Salmon stocks, especially stocks being , KAA said.
“Down through the years, our own members have been harassed, with cars being damaged, tyres punctured and angling huts burnt down.
“In the last few weeks one of our members confronted a few people who were illegally fishing. Upon returning to his car he found his windows broken.
“These mindless criminals are having a destructive effect on this natural resource.
“Members of the public, hotel and restaurant owners should not purchase salmon from these criminals.
“Some members of the public do not realise that it is an offence to purchase wild salmon taken from the River Nore.
“Kilkenny Anglers Association has worked hard down through the years to stamp out this activity but the problem seems to be getting worse.
We already work closely with "Inland Fisheries Ireland" fishery officers, but we all need to redouble our efforts to break the 'year in-year out' cycle of destruction that benefits the few - at the expense of the rest of the local community. The IFI is the statutory body charged with the protection of the River Nore and members of the public should assist them in every way possible.
We believe the IFI may need more resources and personnel to successfully carry out their statutory duties. Salmon stocks have depleted year on year and it is obvious we are facing a complete collapse.
“Anglers have not been able to take home a salmon since 2014 and the unfortunate reality is that anglers won't be able to take home a salmon for many seasons to come.
“It looks likely that the river may completely close next year. Kilkenny Anglers Association feel that the river should stay open for catch and release so we can maintain a visible presence on the river .
“In the recent publication of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), National Strategy for Angling development report said, the IFI said; "it is the vision of the IFI to "provide an accessible and sustainable, world class, inland fisheries and sea angling resources for all.
“The strategy aims to increase angling tourism activity to 1999 levels of 173,000 individual visits from overseas/tourists anglers, to re-engage lapsed domestic anglers and introduce more of Ireland's population to angling for recreation and leisure.
This supports the governments primary objective in tourism.
To maximise the overseas tourism revenue while recognising that the domestic anglers underpin the entire gamut of the angling offering by supporting the conservation of the angling resource and its environment .
An essential aim of this strategy is to further increase the numbers of both domestic and overseas anglers who regularly participate in angling in Ireland. It has the potential to grow the economic contribution of angling from its current level of €836 million to €900 million per annum and moreover support up to 13,000 jobs primarily in rural and peripheral communities where few alternatives economic opportunities exist.
The National Strategy for angling development is the first comprehensive national framework for the development of our angling resource. This will ensure that our fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced for both their economic value and for the recreational benefit to the communities and visitors they serve across Ireland . Effective and sustainable implementation of the strategy will ensure stability of existing jobs and businesses reliant on angling and the creation of new jobs as the economic impact of angling grows. This strategy will ensure that our angling resource is protected and conserved in an environmentally sustainable manner for future generations to enjoy. Fundamentally, this strategy will strive to make angling an accessible and attractive pursuit for all,"
Kilkenny Anglers Association and the many other angling clubs look forward to the implementation of this important strategy.
PHOTO - The photo shows an angler with an illegal net on the Nore under Brownsbarn Bridge