Deputy Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath says he is delighted to confirm that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) have come to an agreement with the angling federations to continue to stock freshwater trout, including facilities in Cullion and Roscrea fish farms. Deputy Burke and Fine Gael Cllr Andrew Duncan have fought tooth and nail against the closure of the fish farms for a number of months and Deputy Peter Burke has said that he is glad that IFI and management have reached this agreement.

“I am glad to confirm that IFI will continue to stock fish farms at Cullion and Roscrea, and have changed their position in relation to exiting the production of trout for the re-stocking of angling lakes.

“There was wide-spread shock and anger earlier in April when the Board of IFI announced that they were to discontinue their role in restocking the trout in Cullion and Roscrea hatcheries. I met with former Minister Joe McHugh and current Minister Seán Kyne to discuss these worrying developments and I raised the issue on the Dáil floor to highlight the huge negative effects that would be involved in an exit by IFI. Minister Kyne met with me to discuss the issue and agreed to accompany me to the local public meeting at Cullion Fish Farm where he met a number of active and very concerned anglers. A public consultation was held in relation to the IFI’s decision to exit freshwater trout production.

“We have some of the best trout in the world in this country and I am delighted to see that IFI will continue to stock our freshwater trout to the high levels currently available on site. Staff have worked hard for decades to develop over 50 breeds of resilient trout at Cullion fish farm and the local economy is a huge benefactor of this. Hundreds of anglers flock to Ireland and Westmeath every year and it is only right the Lake County continues its tradition with regards fishing. We must continue to attract tourists to Mullingar and the entire midlands region-angling tourism in Ireland generates a dividend in excess of €0.75 billion per year.

“The Board of IFI has agreed this decision with the National Anglers Representative Association and the Trout Anglers Federation and all parties have committed to work together to develop and seek funding for a comprehensive strategy to meet ongoing economic and biological issues at the facilities”.