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THE WELFARE OF PIKE
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TheGreatJC
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jkchambers wrote:
Keeping more than one eye on it. With roach and bream also being dumped I will be on to the NCFFI about it too.


John, sorry I didnt ring you back, will do so over the next day or so, but without evidence, what can we do?
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jkchambers
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believe it or not the WRFB have such a thick neck they would admit to it if challenged saying that the pike and coarse fish are going to a good use.
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J1
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D Hamill wrote:
Hi Joe,

Thanks for getting back to me. I would say first off that you would get more information in a committee meeting than on an open forum

I hope this in some way answers some of your questions.

David


Hi David,
This is a very good and detailed reply from you and I appreciate the time and trouble you took to reply but, the only thing different in it from back in 97/98 is the Blue Barrel.
I would be concern over your conversation with members of the IFPAC in regards to conservation and competitions and in your opinion it could split the IFPAC it is quite obvious that a lot more work needs to be done in this area to find a way forward sooner radder than latter.

The Western Lakes were top of the agenda then and they are still top.
I have reports and reports from the IFPAC on meeting held with the WRFB in relation to stock management and in particular pike control measures.
And just that you don't think I am halusanation some of the big names present were
John O'Connor, Dr. Paddy Fitzmaurice, Dr. Martin O'Grady, CFB.
J.P. Burke Tom Byrne representing angling monitoring groups.
Lal Faherty, Michael Kennedy, Martin Butler, WRFB.
John Chambers, John Crudden, Martin Murray of the Federation of Pike Angling Clubs as it was known then, So ten years on the IFPAC are still trying to get some kind of middle ground on the western lakes never mind a stop to the so called scientific Pike culling and now roach, bream,
and other coarse fish have now entered the equation so not much progress on that front.

The limestone lakes were on the agenda also but they seemed to have move on some.

I do think that you are holding back a little on the committee when you say they are more committed to local issues but they take their position on the committee to run the IFPAC first and foremost.
I to would be very impressed with the PAC and their approach to the welfare and conservation of not alone Pike but all spices of fish and to their renewal of their committee every 3 years, Of the 14 IFPAC committee half are there from my time just rotated around with the exception on the Chairman, It;s time for a transfusion of new blood all around.

Of another Pike organisation I am not so sure unless it is the original members of the IPS then I would be 100% behind them.

Joe.
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FloatTubeAddict
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always been ok with the idea that pike get removed from trout lakes.

Two reasons:
It makes the trout bigger and more numerous.
It causes elevated numbers of perch.

The perch are perfect food for small pike, the bigger trout ideal high protein for bigger pike, and the reduced pike competition for food causes a faster pike growth rate.
So this is a perfect fishery management policy to make monster pike. The results bear it out too. Too many 35+ pike (on these lakes) over too many years for there to be any doubt that it works.

It seems to me, that better big trout fishing together with a better chance of a realy big 40 - 50 pound pike is a good idea. Though it makes for technically difficult fishing that beginners find heart breaking.
Specimen fisheries are not common. If I want numerous smaller pike I just fish other (pike) lakes.

I don't mean to be incendiary with this, but it's how I see it.

There is a case to be moving the removed fish LIVE to other pike lakes that need them. But zebra mussel spread, foreign weed spread, etc must be avoided like the plague.
I don't know if live pike can be moved from Corrib without bringing unwanted visitors with them that would screw up the waters they are moved into.
Any expert view available on that aspect?

Norm
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Paddy Lynch
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Norm I'm afraid the results of the pike removal techniques used by the boards are very different to how you view it. If you take an ecosystem that has reached a balance of predator verses prey then the removal of a controlled number of smaller predators this will allow those remaining to grow larger. But large pike are an apex predator and it is the targeting of these fish with gill net at spawning time that has the trout waters in such a state. The removal of a small number of apex predators (large pike) leads to an explosion in the number of smaller pike which then leads to a drastic reduction in the number of the trout present. These are the facts of the matter, what the western, north-western and Shannon regional boards deem as predator control is in fact indiscriminate slaughter of all pike, trout and coarse species with nets.
It is far from 'perfect fishery management'. The damage is done and the continuing netting of these smaller fish is the boards throwing money and resources at a problem which they created in order to be seen to be acting. The only solution is to allow nature to reach its balance again and increase trout stocking in the mean time to replace those lost to predation.
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FloatTubeAddict
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No arguement with that.
For a balanced result (as a trout fishery):
The idea should be to take out a fixed percentage of predators, and a similar percentage or coarse fish prey/competition species.
So say 10% of pike are removed, then 10% of perch should also be removed. Pike and perch being cover / weed related species that frequent the same areas. The first is easier, cheaper, and quicker to do than the second.
They used to rotenone the perch spawning to reduce them once upon a time, but I guess that is frowned on now!
Done that way there is no "perch explosion" and you get bigger perch.

But since we have a perch explosion already we can tell the pike are reduced and not the perch. Therefore pike have been "over-culled" to create a term for it.

And you're right about the size bit too. They tend to use gill nets for spawning pike, a method that's more effective to big pike than smaller ones.
Which causes the tiddly pike population profile to appear, with many jack pike.

So far I agree entirely.

But the surviving big pike that escape the nets - they come from what would have been a "normal" pike population, but they become fast growing. Not because they are genetically selected strain for fast growing, but because they have no real competition, lots of perch, and little pike too to eat. As well as the trout.

If it was done right the emphasis would be on small pike removal, and fewer pike would survive to grow big, but they would have been genetically selected (by size) so the fastest growing pike would be enhanced, and we would have a faster growing pike population. Say hello to more 40s and 50s.
IF it was done that way, that is.

I know the argument the trout men (I fish trout to) put up to justify this, and it's wrong in my opinion.
It is that when the pike are all jack pike, they are too small to eat trout, since the trout are of a certain size when they come down out of the rivers into the lake.
Their logic is good on the surface only. But the small pike cannot cull the perch efficiently and the perch explode. First own goal for the "trout fishing anti pike guys". Next the massive perch fry shoals feed trout for the summer, and stop trout eating flies on the surface.
Second, they have forgotten the roach which are busy eating more flies deep down that would otherwise come up to hatch and bring trout up on top to feed. So trout have a choice few flies on top, or juicy roach down deeper. What do the trout eat? Not their little flies dibbled on the surface with few naturals to keep them company. That's their second own goal IMHO.

So you're right in lots of ways. It is a huge wasted opportunity, and a waste of big pike.
There is a plus. The ferox trout have a better time. They have a vacant slot which 5 lb to 15lb size pike would normally fill, that is, eating medium size perch and roach. The roach are a substitute for char and bigger size prey, which probably suits the ferox of above average weight and protein needs.

The fly traditional anglers don't catch these trout very well though. But look how trolling is getting more popular as trout anglers slowly switch from flyfishing to spinning.
Not the original aim of the pike cull I'll bet. But a direct result of it all the same.
WRFB biologists could consider this more:
What does the lack of a perch/roach removal policy cost where a pike removal is maintained? What will be the eventual fate of fly fishing as a technique, in the face of this over many years. Are they happy creating a lake where everybody trolls rapalas for trout because the trout don't rise much?

But don't forget the few surviving big pike. While this silliness is all going on, and they run the gauntlet of the nets each spring, those favoured few are growing faster than ever.

I wish they would get it right, it could be so much better. Removing the right fish makes it better in many ways, nad not just for game anglers either.
A targeted small to medium pike kill, protection of big pike, a proportional perch and roach reduction policy. A mandatory angler trophy fish return policy. They are what would be ideal IMHO.
That lake would have record trout, perch and pike, and near-miss record catches every single year if they did that. (The reduced roach numbers would also very likely cause 2lb roach to become commonplace too).

Just my take on it. Not a disaster, and not a success (IMHO). Many I guess will disagree on this highly charged subject.

Norm
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River Piker
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting guys, can you point out some place where I can read a bit more on all this, research books or what ever?
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D Hamill
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:49 pm    Post subject: Fisheries Management Reply with quote

Hi Norm,

A highly charged topic indeed! Your own theory of how stocks react to bio-manipulation is well thought out. Your views obviously come from a very close connection or interest in some of these waters and for the record I don’t believe for a moment that yours views can be interpreted as incendiary.

My main observation about your theory is that it might assume that these fisheries are producing or are capable of producing the optimum number of wild trout for the system. Where there are other significant factors involved, fish removal I feel becomes little more than tinkering with a fishery. This is partly where I think the CFB’s guidance on how to manage these fisheries falls down. For instance, there have been hundreds of thousands of Euro spent on habitat improvement to streams and rivers in the past 10 years, however in Lough Corrib’s case the Clare River and its tributary’s (a significant 35% of the Corrib catchment) at present remain relatively underdeveloped. Dr. O’ Grady CFB, when questioned on this at the April meeting did say that the OPW had committed substantial funds to the Clare River over the life of the Water Framework Directive (e.g. this could run to 2027), however putting this commitment aside, it would appear to be a serious failing in the management of Lough Corrib whereby no attempt appears to have been made to calculate the loss of trout production from not having this work carried out to date. Indeed it appears that no attempt was made to quantify the overall trout population in 1995/96 in Lough Corrib prior to the pike cull nor was any attempt made to analyse what extent trout production had been reduced from the arterial drainage schemes and general habitat degradation. The 1996 report produced by Dr. O’ Grady et al. instead negated the effect of habitat degradation. The results from improvement works carried out under TAM would now appear to contradict this earlier conclusion. My point is that as we all know trout stocks were naturally reduced, which was always going to impact on their **** in the fishery.

Pollution is another under-rated factor in all of this. Independent reports on pollution problems on Lough Corrib in the mid nineties were largely ignored in favour of the EPA results for water quality that due to the mid lake sampling methodology showed the Loughs to be satisfactory. The people of Galway, at least 90,000 or so surely know differently after the cryptosporidium outbreak in 2007. As I said earlier IFPAC at the April meeting asked that a risk analysis be carried out for this and many other factors. This would suit the purpose of pike and game anglers alike in my book.

My point here is that in the first instance the environmental parameters dictate stock balances and should be the primary consideration. Perch, pike, char, trout and Salmon co-existed in Corrib pre 1950’s in an entirely different ecosystem. Now? The latest is that the CFB have just got word of substantial EU funding to tackle the invasive weed problem that poses a serious threat to Lough Corrib. This is not progress, but yet more remedial works. Considering zebra mussels also, it appears that Lough Corrib jumps from one disaster to another.

Getting back to the stock balances though, the CFB philosophy centres on their assessments of the feeding habits of pike. Pike below 40cm are stated in various reports to principally feed on macro invertebrates. Pike over 40cm and more so over 60-70cm, are said to feed principally on trout, cropping the larger trout in particular. This is where the mass culling derives its justification i.e. the culling has been proven to drive down the average size of pike to less than 40cm thereby ceasing the predation on trout and leaving macro invertebrates fearing for their very existence. There is no doubt Norm that it is a cosy arrangement, but does it bear out in reality? Your own theory is probably closer to the truth, leaving aside the other real threats to wild trout, and is not even in the same ‘incendiary’ room as some of the conclusions presented by Irish scientists over the years.

I believe the ebbs and flows of the stock structure in these Lough’s are so marvellously complex that nobody really has a notion what’s going on. The idea though of killing or risking the killing of the apex predator, the big pike in gillnets just beggars belief and from a tourism viewpoint is an utter travesty. I do agree on the point and up to a point, that fast growing mammoth pike can be a by product of this type of management. The problem is that a lot of the really big pike over the years have been caught either in gillnets or on long lines before the specimen hunter can get at them which in this circumstance invalidates the argument that fishing for big pike is worthwhile. This is exactly how the management of these fisheries is carried out. It would appear from an educated viewpoint that it is more about keeping pike anglers (domestic and tourist alike) off these fisheries and less about whether or not killing big pike improves the wild trout fishing. The science when convenient is then waved at all in sundry as justification. The pike in a skip is only a symptom of the much broader problem.

David
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Paddy Lynch
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see your point Norm, selevtiely removing perch and small pike would see a healty balance being restored quicker but this selective removal takes time and money something the boards wont invest when their goal of killing pike can be achieved with a gill net in spring. The other method used of electrofishing appears to kill adult pike very easily, having spoken to people who have witnessed the act in the north western region, large pike where returned to the water only to resurface dead. Selective removal of smaller pike can only be done through angling, which on waters the size we are speaking of is impracticly. So in my view nature should be allowed to regain control, apex predators by their nature cannot over populate their ecosystem, it's natures way.

River Piker hear is a very informative document on the subject:
http://www.pacgb.co.uk/pdfs/pikeinyourwaters.pdf
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with just about everything said above.

Except - don't underestimate how many fish anglers catch.
If there were a slot limit policy for protected fish, and a mandatory total cull policy for undesirable fish much would be achieved in a short time.

For example a possible Corrib strategy:
Say that trout anglers must return all fish over 2lbs, and return all trout under 1lbs. And also say there was a 1 or 2 keepers a day limit for the takable trout in between.
As a result the older trout would get bigger and provide better sport, and also their fast growth genes would be preserved as they get to spawn many times each year until the die of old age. Then they fall to the lake bottom and feed the big pike.

Now if at the same time there was slot limit for pike. But in this case all pike under 4lbs must be killed, and pike between 4 and 6lbs are takable (if the angler wishes) up to a limit of 2 pike per week. My guess is that the anglers would now cull the small pike adequately and nets would not be required. Total biomass of pike would not change much, but trophy pike would be greatly increased.

Now if there is no predator for perch and roach their numbers will "explode". But we have set up a situation where more big pike and ,more big trout exist, to cull the perch and roach. My guess (remember this a supposed to be a managed trout lake) is that some perch and roach spawning season reduction by nets/rotenone would still be required. If this were done they would be kept in some proportion, and their size would increase somewhat.

With reduced small perch and roach the flylife should do better. And with the bigger roach and perch there would be a substantial predator on zebra mussels.

And yes - it's all pointless if the water is polluted and murky and light cannot reach the lakebed. And to run a trout fishery with crud spawning tributaries is just silly.

It's a dream. And a proposal to be examined. But it won't be examined properly for many years because the anglers have drawn up ranks and taken sides and you can't talk reason with most of them.

* * *

In the years before that ....
Has anybody asked can we have pike lakes, managed for pike?
Not trout lakes, not mixed coarse lakes ... pike lakes.

I'm thinking of places where an overpopulation of pike would be culled the right way, (yes, some pike killing can be OK!) and a pike underpopulation would be protected by a total big pike return policy.
And a place where the undesirable coarse fish taken from "managed trout lakes" could be placed, so as to maintain an suitable (slight) overpopulation of coarse prey fish.
With really good pike lakes available, pike anglers might want to leave the trout anglers alone a bit more and we might all be happier, if that is possible.

Another dream ......
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jkchambers
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the meeting between the CFB , some regional C.E.O.s and the Fed last may a useful exchange of views took place. We proposed a pilot project (which David drew up) which the CFB said that they would consider and come back to us. We heard nothing. That is until now. They want to meet the Fed again early in the new year to explore ideas.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jkchambers wrote:
At the meeting between the CFB , some regional C.E.O.s and the Fed last may a useful exchange of views took place. We proposed a pilot project (which David drew up) which the CFB said that they would consider and come back to us. We heard nothing. That is until now. They want to meet the Fed again early in the new year to explore ideas.

Brilliant John!
Could this be the tentative beginnings of the first fishery in Ireland designed and run for pike and pike anglers?
I would be totally behind such a project.

Norm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only just received a copy of the letter from the CFB which our assistant secretary phoned me about. It states
"In relation to "pilot projects" document the following is planned:-
The Central Fisheries Board intends to commit monies to pike research in 2009. Some of the goals outlined in your pilot project will be addressed in this programme.
This Board also intends to seek additional funding to further extend its knowledge on the ecology and biology of pike in other Irish waters.
Perhaps we could meet early in the New Year to outline the nature and rational for our pending pike research programme in 2009 and review further potential for co-operative measures between our organisations."
Pretty positive letter. Looking forward to that proposed meeting.
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J1
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This will be a major step forward, for as you say for ecology and biology of Pike in Irish water. But let's keep our feet (both feet) on the ground till we see the outcome and you have the additional funding

Joe.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

john s wrote:
just a quick message as i am working..i am prepared to take pictures an send them on the next time it happenes...maybe even today..ill be online later ok


Nothing much happening on this Pike subject from the 19th of Nov Shocked

Was it real or was it real
Joe
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was another pike competition on Ennell on Sunday. I was informed by text on Saturday. The event attracted 8 anglers who caught 3 pike to 4 lbs. They were relocated in the local canal. No word back from the Ennell club yet re the meeting I suggested.
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