Angling in the Moy Fishery in Ballina Co Mayo and the Corrib Fishery in Galway city has been closed by Inland Fisheries Ireland to protect salmon and trout suffering from “thermal stress” as water temperatures rise.
The two fisheries, which Inland fisheries Ireland says are “among the most productive salmon fisheries in western Europe”, were closed on Thursday due to the prolonged warm and dry weather conditions.
Recent dry and hot weather has caused water temperatures to exceed a 20 degrees threshold in both locations over a number of days.
Freshwater fish species such as salmon and trout can suffer “thermal stress” arising from the impact of adverse warm weather and become disorientated and bloated, leading to collapse of their internal organs.
Barry Fox, Head of Operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), said “salmon need cold and clean water to survive and thrive. Low water volumes and high water temperatures can lead to fish kills, as there is less oxygen in the water to allow them to breathe”.
Mr Fox said other State-owned fisheries were being monitored and cessation orders would be enforced if water temperatures hit the 20 degree “trigger”.
Met Éireann has forecast occasional rain showers from Saturday night. Mr Fox said there was hope that this would lead to a cooling of water in the fisheries and should temperatures fall below 20 degrees for a 48-hour period the fisheries would be reopened.
Mr Fox said he regretted the disruption to anglers who comprise a sizeable number of visitors to the west of Ireland, “but our primary concern now has to be for the welfare of the fish”.
According to Angling Ireland the Moy fishery, which covers just over 2.5 kilometres of the Moy within the town boundaries of Ballina, has in the past recorded catches of over 5,000 salmon in a single season”.
The Moy fishery was bought by the state in 1987 and is now under the control of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The Corrib river or Galway Fishery centres on a short stretch from the Weir to the bridge at the cathedral, called Salmon Weir Bridge. It is one of western Europe’s most prolific salmon fisheries, with an average annual catch of 7-800 fish for a short 200 metre stretch of water.
Mr Fox said it will likely take some time before water conditions at both locations will revert to normal for the month of June. “We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis before reopening the facilities” he said.
Mr Fox added an appeal to privately owned fisheries to cease angling should the water temperature rise.
Anglers with bookings on the Moy Fishery in the coming days are asked to contact 096 21332 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Those with bookings on the Galway Fishery can contact 091 562388, or email email@example.com.
Anyone who encounters distressed fish, fish kills, illegal fishing or pollution, can contact a confidential 24/7 number on 0818 34 74 24 or email the authority at firstname.lastname@example.org.