A Carrick-on-Suir councillor is campaigning for a ban on prawn bait being used for fishing on the River Suir.
Labour Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald tabled a motion at South Tipperary County Council’s December meeting calling on the Council to write to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney requesting that safe guards and stroke legislation be introduced to prohibit prawn bait fishing on the river Suir and it received the unanimous support of his elected colleagues.
He has now called on members of the public to support the ban on this bait.
Cllr Fitzgerald told the Council meeting that Atlantic salmon were on the red list of endangered fish species and if we cannot protect salmon in the seas, we can in our rivers and by doing so return the River Suir to its former glory as a salmon habitat.
He said Inland Fisheries Ireland with the support of anglers has made a substantial investment in the catch and release system but the use of prawn bait fishing is nothing more than commercial angling under another name.
“This is particularly relevant in areas of low water where salmon shoal together in pools of water to get condensed oxygen and cannot resist the prawn bait. This amounts to monofilament netting,” he argued.
“The River Suir has a 57 feet drop from Clonmel to Carrick on Suir; it is a tidal river and this is conducive to good fly and spinning fishing for salmon due to fast water.
“The largest salmon caught in Irish waters was in 1874 when a man named Maher reeled in his famous 57 pounds fish. The fish was caught with a fly and not with prawn bait, and we need to realise that fishing is a sport with most anglers conservatively minded.
He also pointed out that if we have no fish we have no fishermen and therefore a drop in tourists, so simple economics warrants the ban on prawn bait fishing.
“The present flaws in the quota system together with the lack of a salmon counter on the Suir are resulting in stocks of salmon being overstated,” he continued.
Cllr. Fitzgerald said he was delighted to receive cross party and unanimous support for the motion at the Council meeting.