The National Committee has read with interest the various views being expressed on internet forums and elsewhere regarding matters pertaining to pike and pike fishing in Ireland. This statement has been prepared reflecting the position of the National Committee.
The Irish Republic
The present geographic remit of the Pike Anglers Club does not currently encompass the Irish Republic. The Club was formerly known as the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain and Ireland but this changed with the formation of the Irish Pike Society in 1993. Sadly the IPS was adversely affected by the untimely death of the IPS Chairman David Overy.
The current position of the PAC is not to reincorporate the Irish Republic into the club. We are aware of the potential formation of a Conservation Orientated organisation there with similar objectives and principles to PAC. Clearly the existing organisation representing pike anglers in the Republic namely the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs has shown itself to be more concerned with running pike matches than in pike care and conservation per se and hence do not fulfil the necessary role that PAC fulfils in the UK.
We hope in time to see the emergence of an Irish led pike welfare organisation in the Irish Republic and will both watch and support developments to that end closely. In the event this does not transpire the National Committee will review matters in conjunction with its membership in Ireland and also represent the interests of the many GB based pike anglers who fish in Ireland.
Northern Ireland is well served by PAC members with circa 100 members of the club residing there. This level of activity to our mind reflects both the level of interest in pike fishing in this part of the UK as well as the threats increasingly posed to it from various sources.
Originally there was a single PAC Region in Northern Ireland but following the 2008 AGM of Region 43 this region has since closed and a new Region 111 started up.
The PAC’s officers in Northern Ireland are George Higgins as Liaison Officer and Robbie Marsh as Regional Organiser RA 111. We have confidence and faith in these two members to look after PAC interests in the North and are in regular contact with them.
No other individuals are authorised by the National Committee to deal with authorities and other bodies on behalf of the PAC in Northern Ireland.
For avoidance of doubt the PAC do not support the Erne Classic Pike event.
Furthermore we have appointed two members of the National Committee to deal with related matters in Ireland these being John Cahill for the North and Phil Wakeford for the Republic. They will of course work closely together.
The strong following for pike matches throughout the island of Ireland has resulted in the perceived need to retain live pike for later "weighing in" and verification of the catch by "permitted methods" by match officials to prevent false claims being made. This is particularly relevant when considering the large value prizes that some of the open matches offer.
The PAC of GB would like to make it publicly known that we are in total opposition to the practice of retaining pike in barrels.Where the club has engaged with match organisers we have been unable to date to change their minds in relation to the use of barrels. We would much prefer alternative methods were adopted such as trusting anglers to report catches correctly, retention in suitable 'carp sacks' for as short a time period as in necessary or adoption of methods used elsewhere such as photographic evidence alongside approved measuring tapes/sticks.
Despite our opposition, if barrels are still to be adopted in a particular match then the welfare of the pike must be aided by considerations such as size of barrel, freshness and volume of water, temperature of water/air plus levels of dissolved oxygen (DO). The use of undersize aeration devices clearly will be next to useless in increasing the DO within a large volume of water i.e. 100 litres and we criticise quasi scientific reports promoted by bodies seeking to validate the use of barrels.
We also have reservations whilst angling afloat with a barrel of water. We leave the organisers to confirm to participants that this practice is Health and Safety compliant for insurance purposes.
PAC continues to be adamantly opposed to the so-called "management of pike stocks" as has been practiced in certain Irish waters by Regional Fisheries Boards such as on the Great Western Loughs. We are particularly critical of the use of gill nets in which not only fish suffer (they are also indiscriminate in species selection) but also birds and in some cases otters.
Illegal Fish Removal
We sympathise greatly with anglers and fishing clubs in Ireland whose local waters are being targeted by poachers using a variety of capture methods including nets and long lines.
The current Byelaw 809 (2006) in the Republic provides the following:
1) A bag limit of one pike in any one day
2) Prohibits the killing of more than one pike greater than 50 cm in any one day
3) Makes it illegal to be in the possession of more than one Pike <> 0.75 kg of Pike flesh
We would welcome tougher enforcement of existing laws by the authorities. Recent successful prosecutions give us cause for some hope in this area.
The upcoming review of the Marine Bill in the UK is hoped to have a similar outcome with regard to protection of dwindling pike stocks but the key to success will as ever be with enforcement of the law often in adverse circumstances, in remote places and often at night.
Enquiries in relation to this announcement can be directed to:
Phil Wakeford, PACGB President re matters relating the the Irish Republic
John Cahill, PACGB Membership Secretary re matters relating to Northern Ireland
Chris Bishop - Press enquiries..