independent

Saturday 17 August 2019

Don't blow a national asset

with ASHLEY HAYDEN email: anirishanglersworld@gmail.com. web: www.anirishanglersworld.com

AS ALL of us are fully aware, Ireland is experiencing the full effects of possibly the deepest economic recession in its history. With unemployment touching 500,000, in reality 20% plus of our working population and not the lesser figure so often quoted by the establishment and politicians, Ireland really needs to start looking at its key natural resources and managing them correctly.

Rod and line sea fishing is such a resource with tourist anglers contributing upwards of €150.00 per rod day, guided bass angling easily doubling that figure, while staying on average 11.8 bed nights (Fáilte Ireland 2008).

Co. Wexford, home to a host of sea angling opportunities encompassing boat and shore fishing, includes in its population people such as Jim Hendrick (arguably the best professional bass angling guide in the country), and Paul Noble (who recently took a bronze medal in the 2011 World Long Casting Championships while casting in the 175 gram lead category). It also boasts the largest charter boat fleet of any port in Ireland located in Kilmore Quay, with a further two top-class vessels working out of Duncannon.

A European bass fishing Mecca on a par with what is on offer along the north-eastern states of the USA, and still lucky to have reasonable off shore reef and wreck fishing between the Tuskar Rock and Hook Head, when are the powers that be, politicians, individual anglers, groups, vested interests, and associations going to get their collective finger out and develop something world class from this sadly underutilised, definitely unrecognised, and totally mismanaged pot of gold? The UKbased organisers of the Rosslare Small Boats Festival, now in its 26th year, obviously understand the quality, so let's stop taking things for granted.

This writer is fully aware of how our bass resource might be improved and has highlighted, with as yet no real official response, the need to reform our inshore passenger boat legislation to allow guided small boat rod and line fishing in the open sea. This one activity will generate substantial direct and indirect jobs and become a flagship angling product if the politicians and legislators would only take the idea seriously.

Also, I am aware of a famous bass angling location south of Rosslare Harbour which has always been targeted, got wiped out in the sixties and seventies, started to come into its own since the commercial bass ban was adopted post 1990, but in recent years has seen a resurgence in nefarious activity from both commercial and angling interests which threatens the future viability of this world-class mark.

I am calling on Wexford County Council to consider building a bass angling interpretive centre at this location (not my idea).

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