Prime Minister David Cameron has let it be known that he is the working man’s friend. I wonder if he is referring to people like Mark Horton and farmers, their wives and families who never stop working until they go to sleep at night.
Or is he referring to that considerable body of people who know how to lean on their shovels or stretch health and safety regulations to breaking point.
Mind you, it is not just the men in dungarees who know how to feather their nests whether it be filling gaps in the NHS or the criminals who send thousands to their deaths in the Mediterranean while they pocket vast sums of money.
To get back to Mark Horton, his friend Michael Martin of the Six Mile Water Trust says: “So much for David Cameron’s Big Society. Mark Horton was doing a great job setting up Trusts to allow communities to maintain their rivers for themselves, with people improving Northern Ireland, people looking after their natural heritage rather than relying on Government to do it and now that relatively small funding which was making a big difference is gone at a stroke. Our politicians should be ashamed of themselves.”
Martin Horton, (BSc (Hons) MSc MIFM) had written to Michael thanking him for seeking to bring the current situation to a wider public.
He wrote: “You may be aware that the funding for my post has ended and there is no real prospect of any further funding for me to continue to support Trusts in the capacity that I have been doing. I think you should take every opportunity to promote the good work of the Six Mile Water Trust. For your information, Ballinderry Rivers Trust will be at the Balmoral Show for three days so if you are up, pop in and see us.”
As Michael Martin said, it is quite shameful that funding should be denied to Trusts that have been doing so much for the environment and its wildlife. Every pound spent on such projects returned a dividend worth many times the expenditure.
It is significant that at the very time the plug is being pulled on a very worthy project in Northern Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology is participating in a six nation 3.1m euro funded project which should help the environment and salmon conservation.
I know it is past the time for burning heather, but I could not help thinking about the great work done by farmers and their friends in the great wildfires in North Antrim four years ago.
The heather burning season ended in mid-April and the new heather burning season will not start until September. So, don’t even think of trying to burn even a wee bit of heather until September 1.
But I will say that if moor owners are thinking of burning a few acres in four months time they might do well to have their neighbours on hand rather than turning to the Fire service to put out a wildfire that may be raging over hundreds of acres.
I will be writing about my own experience as the time for burning draws near. The old adage that a stitch in time saves nine applies here.
In his Irish Angling update Paul Bourke says there were reports of a steady trickle of salmon on most of the fisheries on the River Slaney, but anglers were hoping for some rain to bring more fresh salmon into the system.
Dutch visitor Rink van der Wal, fishing with angling guide Andrew Ryan, caught and released a huge salmon on fly on the River Suir.
On Lough Currane sea trout up to 11 lb 8oz. were recorded along with steady salmon mainly taken on the troll. In Connemara salmon were running in to the Kylemore system and some good catches were reported.
Salmon fishing has been improving steadily on the River Moy and 15 fish were caught on the River Drowes. Three salmon were taken on the troll on Lough Melvin.
On Lough Sheelin some lovely trout were caught and there was an improvement for anglers fly fishing on Lough Corrib where the first hatches of olives have appeared. Good catches were also made on Lough Mask and on Loughs Conn and Cullin. It is good to see that help is being given to conservation work down South. Salmon Conservation Fund (SCF) and the Midland Fisheries Fund (MFF) are now open for applications.
In total, 240,000 euro is available to conserve and develop the inland fisheries resource from funds generated through the sale of salmon licences and Midland Fisheries Area permits.
The schemes, administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland, will facilitate clubs, fishery owners, commercial salmon fishers and other organisations to undertake works to improve habitat, stocks, access, invasive species management, and angling, under the supervision and direction of IFI.
Olive O’Connor of Waterford Institute of Technology reports Irish tech experts have joined industry and research partners across the EU and Israel on a pooled research and technology project, which is set to boost production and jobs in the global fish farm industry, without harming the environment.
The AQUASMART project focuses on developing best practice within the aquaculture sector by helping companies to transform captured data into knowledge.
The 3.1m euro project consortium includes prominent industrial organisations and research institutes from six countries, among them Ireland, Israel, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Over the two year program, partners in the project will share this knowledge to improve efficiency, increase profitability and carry out business in the sector in a sustainable, environmentally- friendly way.
The project is co-ordinated by tech experts at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) and is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.
At Cashel trout fishery, newcomers Eddie Manthorpe, Coleraine, and Peter Clark, Portstewart, did well using GH pheasant tail nymphs to each bank a dozen trout. Also, new to Cashel was John Linton and Robert Scott, Kilrea, who used klinkhammers to bag trout totalling 8lb.
Andrew Logan, Dungiven, caught and released 15 trout which took the olive nymph. Martin Bradley and John Hasson, Dungiven, released six and nine trout respectively using suspender buzzers and the f-fly.
Young Liam McElhinney and his friend Ryan Burton, Magilligan, banked three trout and took two home for 5lb 1oz. Steven Mc Keever, Limavady, released one.
Liam and Danny Morrin, Derry, had seven between them on olive damsel and zonker. Jim Russell and Danny Walker, Monkstown and Newtownabbey, had 15 over two days. On the second day Jim had a big fish which broke his line and got away. Padraig Dalzell, Ronan Harrington and Christopher Laby, Derry, had 10 trout between them. Ben Beresford and Ian Millar, Ballykelly, also had 10.
On April 15 only one fish was caught on the Blackwater lodge section of the Cork Blackwater with few anglers fishing. On other beats two were caught on spinner opposite Upper Kilmurry and a fresh fish in excess of 20lb was lost at the net on fly down at Lismore.
At Craigmore, it was like a different lake at the week-end with a swirling east wind that put the fish down. There was scarcely any surface movement so most fish were caught deeper down.
Gordon Wilson had 41 including six at 4lb mostly on buzzers with five on dries.
Keith Henry had 22 to 6lb and lost the same on lures and buzzers. Jason McClean had 22 to 6lb - 12 on dries and the rest on buzzers. Matt McClean had 15 to 5lb 10 oz on lures and buzzers.
Other catches were: James Harper, 13 to 6lb; Tweedy Dorian, 13 to 7lb; Maurice Anderson, 15; John Bailie, 12; Sandy Dorian, 14;. R Watson, nine to 5lb; A Bailie,12 to 5lb; Jim Simpson, 10; Tommy Wharry, 14; R Hamill, 12 to 6lb; Martin Foster, 15; Alan Temple, 10; Billy Hazlett, nine; Leslie Beggs, 16; L Craig, 10; Pawal Sinica, 19; Billy Todd, 12; Kieran McBride, 13 to 6lb; Tom Hobson, eight; Brian Atkinson, 10; Martin McNicholl, nine; Jason Ogilby,6+lb; Andy Morrow,4lb.
Claire tells me she has some nice rods for sale and will order others if you text her on 07834 005 216.
Ten wildlife and conservation organisations are calling for a three-year ban on the culling of mountain hares on Scotland’s grouse moors.
The moors provide an ideal habitat for mountain hares.
But gamekeepers may cull the animals in an effort to protect red grouse from the tick-borne louping ill virus.
Wildlife groups say there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the claim that culling hares protects grouse.
Simon Jones of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, one of the groups campaigning for a moratorium, said: “We, along with the other organisations, are calling for a three year ban, to allow time for all those involved to take stock of the longer term impacts of large scale culling.
“Once the results of the study have been published we will then be able to identify the best ways to monitor mountain hare populations and measure the impact that management is having on their conservation status.”
The ten groups calling for the immediate three-year ban include National Trust for Scotland, John Muir Trust, RSPB Scotland, RSZZ, Highland Foundation for Wildlife, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Raptor Study Group, The Cairngorms Campaign, the Mammal Society and the Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group.