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Covid-19 restrictions ease for anglers

CLARE anglers may fish in locations less than or equal to five kilometres from their home following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has updated its advice regarding angling to reflect the latest Government and NPHET advice following representations from Clare Independent Deputy, Michael McNamara.

IFI owned fisheries are open with the exception of the Galway and Moy fisheries. ESB fisheries are now also open to angling activity. The status of private and club run fisheries is a matter for the fishery manager or committee.

The move follows Deputy McNamara’s proposal to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil last Thursday that anglers be allowed to resume fishing activity. The Taoiseach subsequently committed to reviewing the proposed easing of restrictions.

“Fishing is a hugely popular pastime throughout Ireland and the mental health benefits of lifting restrictions for people who have been cooped up in their homes for so long is to be very much welcomed,” stated Deputy McNamara.

In the Dáil last week, Deputy McNamara requested the Government consider the minimal risks associated with fishing in terms of ongoing national efforts to contain the virus considering as it is a predominantly solitary activity or something you do with just a few people.

“I have been informed that Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to monitor the situation and make further updates as appropriate in line the Governments Roadmap for reopening society and business.

“I am delighted that restrictions on fishing have now been eased,” said Deputy McNamara.

Under the new guidelines, anglers must maintain social distancing at all times, especially at car parks, access points and launch sites.

Anglers, who are assumed to be from a different household should not share transport e.g. car/van when travelling to fish.

They must limit contact with other anglers and providers and licence sales online where possible.

A maximum of two people assumed from a different household are permitted in small boat for inland/inshore fishing.

Angling businesses may only open once classified as an essential service and should only operate if they can provide online/contactless services.

Charter fishing or guided fishing may only operate where skippers/guides can guarantee compliance with social distancing measures.

It is recommended there is no competition fishing.

Facilities where anglers could gather to remain closed such as lunch huts.

It is recommended anglers, guides,skippers to carry hand sanitiser and to use it after touching surfaces such as gates, stiles, pier railings, ladders, etc.

Information regarding the purchase of permits and salmon licences is available online at www.fishinginireland.info.

Dan Danaher

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