July and August are typically the busiest months of the year for angling, so it’s a good time to remind ourselves about the national regulations that are in place to protect pike and coarse fish.
As every angler here knows, angling has become a very popular leisure activity and sport in Ireland, with over 325,000 adults* enjoying it. According to an Amárach Research omnibus survey in 2021**, 18% of adults who have not tried angling before are “likely” to try it in the future.
“Historically, Ireland has been known for its salmon and trout fishing, but the country is also being hailed internationally for its pike and coarse fishing. However, the national regulations around pike and coarse fishing might not be as well known,” according to Suzanne Campion, Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Head of Business Development.
She said: “There are conservation measures in place to protect pike and coarse fish under national byelaws. It is very important that every angler, including first-time anglers and experienced anglers, becomes familiar with these pieces of legislation to avoid any potential fines or prosecutions.”
Important Bye Laws
Under the national Pike Bye Law (no. 809/2006), there’s a ‘bag limit’ of one pike in any one day. This means that an angler can only keep and take away one pike and must carefully return any other pike caught to the same waterbody, safely. The same bye law also prohibits the killing of any pike that measure longer than 50 centimetres. In these cases, the pike must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody.
Under the Coarse Fish Bye Law (no. 806/2006), there’s a bag limit of four coarse fish in any one day, meaning that if an angler catches more than four course fish, those must be returned, safely, to the same waterbody. In addition, any coarse fish that measure longer than 25 centimetres cannot be killed.
Meanwhile, there are other regulations that apply to all anglers, regardless of what type of species they are fishing for. For example: it is illegal to fish in Ireland with more than two rods; it is illegal to transfer live roach from one waterbody to another and finally, the use of live bait when angling is prohibited. Breaches of fisheries legislation could result in fixed penalty fines, seizure of fishing equipment or criminal prosecutions.
Catch and Release
‘Catch and release’ is a conservation practice that is supported by Inland Fisheries Ireland, whereby a fish is handled responsibly and put back into the same waterbody, safely. When fishing for coarse fish, the use of large keepnets is encouraged; it is also recommended that pike and carp sacks are used to weigh the fish, before returning them safely to the same waterbody.
Campion added: “For anyone interested in angling or trying it out, there is an extensive network of very active clubs, associations and federations all over the country that organise coaching, events and competitions. There’s also a dedicated website for angling in Ireland at www.fishinginireland.info with very helpful information about regulations and bye laws, directories and resources.”
Sources of facts quoted:
* Ipsos MRBI, commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland
**Amárach Research: online omnibus survey carried out in July 2021, with questions supplied by Inland Fisheries Ireland using a sample size of 1,000 adults in Ireland.
Full wording of Bye Laws
The Pike Bye Law No. 809 (2006) provides for the following conservation measures:
- a bag limit of 1 pike in any one day
- prohibits the killing of any pike greater than 50 cm in length
- prohibits the possession by any person of more than 1 whole pike less than 50 cm or more than 0.75 kg of pike flesh, this provision does not apply to a person storing pike or pike parts subject to conditions
- prohibits the possession by any person of more than 12 coarse fish for use as bait subject to conditions.
There is no prohibition on the number of frozen sea baits a pike angler can have for the day’s sport.
The Coarse Fish Bye Law No. 806 of the year 2006 provides for the following conservation measures · a bag limit of 4 coarse fish in any one day
- prohibits the killing of any coarse fish greater than 25 cm in length
In addition, these other regulations are in place:
- It is illegal to fish with more than two rods
- It is illegal to transfer live Roach from one water to another
- The use of live bait is prohibited