The year is coming to a close and so far, according to current rumours, the number of salmon crossing the dam at Finuge is reasonably up on last year. This may be due to the fact that both the netting season and the angling season were curtailed this year with the result that more salmon escaped to spawn. It shows that by shortening the season for nets and rods a greater number of salmon escaped. For the first time in years, the end of year result showed an increase over the previous year. This curtailment of rods and nets is essential for the next eight to ten years to bring a realistic increase to salmon stocks. If this is done there could be a relaxation of the rules governing the harvesting of salmon, to the benefit of rods and nets. It would also benefit the river if the conservation limit was increased, leading to a greater escape of salmon to spawn.
There is no cause for celebration yet. The fall in stocks has been so great that the five year average, which controls the salmon harvest for rods and nets, will still be substantially less for the 2009 / 2013 period than the 2008 / 2012 period. This will mean a further reduction in salmon harvesting on the Feale next year. If anglers are genuine about minding the remaining resource, there will be no taking of salmon beyond the legally permitted limit. Blaming the tidal fishing cuts no ice if anglers are not tagging and declaring their catch.
We look forward to 2014 with the wish that the increase will continue and give some hope for the future of the salmon in the Feale. The 127,000 salmon taken around 1920 is a bit far away yet.