€550,000 fund available for habitat restoration and conservation projects

Sean Kyne, TD, Minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, has today announced that, as part of Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development, the Salmon Conservation and Midland Fisheries Funds are now open to projects for habitat restoration and conservation projects.

The closing date for applications to Inland Fisheries Ireland is 12th July 2018.

The National Strategy for Angling Development aims to ensure that Ireland’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced with a view to ensuring a sustainable habitat and delivering the economic, health and recreational benefits they offer to communities across Ireland.

Eligible project types for the Salmon Conservation and Midland Fisheries Funds 2018 are listed below.

The Salmon Conservation Fund is generated from the sale of salmon and sea-trout licences and reinvested in projects that will assist in the conservation of salmon.

Minister Kyne said: “As the Conservation Fund is financed via a portion of licence sales for both Salmon and Sea Trout, I asked IFI to develop a revised scheme that will include sea trout conservation projects and update the existing salmon-only scheme. As a first step to realising a full scheme for sea trout, this year’s fund is open to accepting a pilot sea trout project for the Waterville area.”

Applications to the Salmon Conservation and Midland Fisheries Funds must relate to conservation habitat improvement projects. Applications may be made online at https://ifi.smartsimple.ie/s_Login.jsp and are invited for projects that are ‘ready to go’, i.e. that have all the necessary paperwork and permissions in place and can move to delivery following successful progression through evaluation and award stages. Such projects would include, for example, a second or subsequent phase of a project. Successful applications must meet the requirements of the Inland Fisheries Ireland Environmental Assessment process – please see: http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/NSAD/environmental-assessment-process.html.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s current priority is to ensure projects already awarded funding under the recent National Strategy for Angling Development schemes up to and including 2017 are completed and project officers continue to assist applicants to bring these projects to delivery phase. To this end, project officers are engaging with groups and other government agencies, Ready to go projects should be timed to complete by end of September 2018.

IFI is also asking the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource by reporting incidents or suspicions of illegal fishing to its confidential hotline number telephone 0818 34 74 24 or 0818 FISH 24.


Why Waterville?

Waterville has a unique stock of sea trout. Anglers and angling guides have observed substantial declines in sea trout catches in the Currane catchment over the past 2-3 years. IFI was notified of these poor catches in late 2017 and has prioritised an investigation to identify likely causes. This investigation and any remedial programme that may emerge from its findings has the support of the Waterville Lakes and Rivers Trust.

IFI acknowledges that sea trout stocks in other catchments have been under serious threat for decades and it is to this end that Minister Kyne has prioritised the inclusion of sea trout in any new scheme. The new scheme will provide for applications from other catchments but the priority for 2018 is to deal with the acute problem in Waterville.

Eligible contributor/3rd party project types – 2018

For 2018, the scheme is limited to the following for both funding avenues:

  • Fish passage improvement (e.g. removal of barriers, modification of weirs, and construction of fish passes etc.)
  • Spawning enhancement (addition/raking of gravel or cleaning of existing substrates)
  • Instream structures (weirs, deflectors, rubble mats, random boulders etc.)
  • River Bank protection (soft engineering measures, log revetment etc.)
  • Fencing (protection of river banks including fences, stiles, cattle drinks etc.)
  • Riparian zone improvement (tree pruning and strategic tree planting)
  • Removal & control of exotic invasive species (e.g. Rhododendron, Japanese knotweed, Asian Clam, Chub etc.)
  • Feasibility studies/ development plans (which lead to future projects under the above headings to maximum of 80% funding or €2000 whichever is less). A maximum of five (5) studies only to be allowed.
  • Screening for Appropriate Assessment, to a maximum of €2000.  If this leads to a requirement for an Appropriate Assessment, three written quotes shall be required and may be funded at the discretion of Inland Fisheries Ireland.