MINUTES OF EVIDENCE.
'435 said they were not there to fish, while others did their utmost in other parts of the river.
Do you think it would be possible to obtain combination by means of a little pressure 1â€”1 think so I speak particularly of the Ballycroy river, where I represent the lower part.
There is a large netting interest at the estuary.
the seals lately increased in numbers ?â€”I
think they have, and otters and cormorants very much.
What coarse fish do you think injure the salmon?â€”I
really don't know.
I should think the dog-fish and tbe small shark.
Do you mean the young salmon or the old ?
â€”I have caught often this year salmon up to twelve ^r fourteen pounds, with large scars or bites on them from the seal.
A straight cut?â€”As
a rule, it is like a bite.
Sometimes you see a piece hanging out of the fish.
Do you think that these causes of injury are on the increase?â€”On
the increase, decidedly, fiecause I observe a greater number having these scars are being caught lately.
You don't attribute any of the injuries to
Arthur T* Oram.
the net would scarcely scar the fish.
You would see the mark of the mesh, but it would not cut it.
You say you took a trout, six inches long, full of salmon ova ?â€”Quite
In what period of the year?â€”"November.
There were two fish lying on the spawning bed, and about a dozen, or perhaps more, little brown trout working down below catching all the ova.
1 caught one of these little fellows and opened him, and he was as full as he could hold.
Have the bag nets increased much in number during twenty-five years ?â€”No
; the law preÂ¬ vents them being increased.
Then you could not attribute any decrease in the fishes to those?â€”No,
not since 1863.
No net not established then could be established now.
You mentioned bag nets as a source of reduction 1â€”Yes; I believe if those bag nets did not catch the fish, the rivers would have a better chance.
The fish on our rivers hug the Achill shore, and are trapped by these bag nets.
Well, there is a wide area in the sea?â€”
Yes, but it is supposed the fish hug the shore.
OtherÂ¬ wise the bag nets would be no good.
Professor Edward Townsend, m.a.,
Member of the Board of Conservators, examined.
are a Professor at the <Queen's College ?â€”Yes.
Have you any particular evidence you would like to put before us.
You take a interest in the fishing?â€”I
have been secretary and a member of a club we formed here about thirty years ago.
An angling club ?â€”An
We had the exclusive right of rod fishing from Lough Corrib to the sea.
Will you give us the result of your exÂ¬ perience ?â€”With
regard to the number of fish caught.
I think rod fishing has decreased, particularly the spring fish, though not so much the peal.
I have got here the result of the captures from 1881 down to 1899, for nineteen years, and I find the fish captured from 1881 to 1889 varied from 618 to 2,020.
The average for those ten years was 1,138 fish per year.
Now if you take the period from 1890 to 1899 the average made by all rods was 747.
So there has been a great decrease in the capture, as far as rods are concerned.
Were the same number of anglers working in the river during those periods 1â€”Yes ; we had a club, consisting of nine members.
It was formed thirty years ago, and the river was very fairly fished all through.
The peal fishing, of course, was particularly affected by the dry season.
In the nineties, as Mr.
Hallett has told you, the water was so very low that there was no fishing till after June.
The principal peal fishing is in June and July, and there was not a fly thrown on the river in some of those years during the months of June, and part of July, and that is the time the breeding fish go up in thousands.
From the 1st of June to about the 10th of July the peal fishing was always good, except during those very dry years.
The place gets perfectly dry, and the fish cannot get up.
Then the decrease in the take m;>y be attributable to the dryness of the years, and not to any want of fish in the rivers ?â€”Principally,
I think, to the dryness : but with regard to the spring fishingâ€”the dry years only affect the peal fishingâ€”it does not affect the spring fishing much, or scarcely at all.
To give you an idea of what, formerly, we used to do in spring, I have here (produced) the return of the number of fish which my brother killed in the spring Â«f 1873, in twenty-one days, commencing the 21st of March and ending on the 15th of April, he killed seventy-three spring fish, weighing 1,033 pounds-
Edward Townsencf, M.A.,D,flC.
that is for one rod alone.
I do not mean to say that J^ofessor that was done by every rod.
is the catch this year 1â€”I think up to the present it has been very bad.
I attribute the falling off in spring fishing to the fact that Lough Corrib and the rivers that run into it are about 161 miles in length.
It is very hard to protect such an extent of ground as that.
I look upon it as principally due to want of protecÂ¬ tion.
Chairmanâ€”Didnotthat want of protection always exist?
Was the protection better in xhe previous period than in the later period ?
Somehow or other we hear greater complaints of late of the destruction of fish by the country people, for every farmer and every labourer is either a sportsman or a kind of sportsman.
You think there has been more poaching of late years ?â€”I
I think protection was not greater in the earlier period.
I don't think the protection was ever very goodâ€”the number of bailiffs is too small, and they are very inadequately paid-I think from about Â£2 to Â£4 a man is not sufficient, and we have not enough of head inspectors â€”Scotchmenâ€”to go over them to look after the work.
Do you get any assistance from the ConÂ¬ stabulary ?â€”I
think very little ; they are rather apathetic.
It is optional with them to look after the fishing.
We offer them every inducement, because in case of fines we hand them over to the police altogether.
But I believe they have no special orders to do this work.
You don't think it would make the ConÂ¬ stabulary unpopular, these prosecutions ?â€”I
don't think they could be more unpopular than they are.
There is another reason I look upon as causing diminution of spring fishing.
The slats that go down this year will probably come up as spring fish in the following year.
The destruction of slats is very great in the country districts and in the mill races in Galway.
The river here bifurcates into two side rivers, one east and the otherwest.
The eastern mill race,which supplies several mills is very well protected by Mr.
He has a net across to prevent slats going down, but the river leading to the western mills is totally unprotected and has always been so.
There are several mills and it is a very large river, and there is nothing to prevent the slats going down and being destroyed in the wheels.
T think that Â©ught to be protected by