“Angling tourism was once worth tens of millions every year to the Roscommon economy, our economic recovery will be reliant on a resurgence in tourism and the Mid-Shannon region absolutely should be designated as an angling tourism hub and promoted aggressively as such in the UK and across Europe.” - Emmett Corcoran
There has been quite a bit of talk in the local media as of late regarding rural regeneration, and the economic fortunes (or misfortunes) of number of smaller towns and villages and there have been calls this week for the government to initiate a new tourism initiative for the Shannonside Region.
Emmett Corcoran a Strokestown based businessman and political activist has this week suggested that the Mid-Shannon region encompassing the Shannon basin from Athlone to Carrick-on-Shannon inclusive, should be designated as an Angling Tourism Hub and aggressively promoted as such by government agencies abroad.
“Angling tourism on the Shannon and in adjacent water-courses was worth an estimated £98m in the late 90’s to the local economy. It’s not worth a fraction of that today but it could be if there were real efforts made by state agencies. Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) would bear some of the responsibility for promoting angling in Ireland. A study carried out by IFI found that 406,000 people were involved in recreational angling in Ireland during 2012, with over 150,000 of these travelling from Northern Ireland and overseas. I believe that overseas number should and could be much larger. If the likes of IFI were doing their job right and the political will-power was there to achieve more.”
“This study also found that direct expenditure of recreational angling by out-of-state anglers was estimated at €121 million, and when indirect spend was accounted for this figure grew to approximately €280 million. An estimated 10,000 jobs are supported by recreational angling in the economy also nationwide. However, recreational anglers would welcome the following initiatives to improve angling in Ireland; More policing of fisheries, Increased protection of fish stocks, Conservation measures, Bank side management and an Increased practice of catch and release. This would lead me to believe that IFI have a body of work to do in order to ensure Irish Fisheries could adequately cater for increased angler numbers.”
“If the government are serious about rural regeneration then they should be directing IFI to develop the infrastructure and address concerns relating to the pollution of waterways and poor fish stock management practices. Thereafter, the mid-Shannon and Lakelands region should be designated as an “Angling Tourism Hub” and promoted to anglers very aggressively both at home and abroad.”
“Cross-agency co-operation is vital in order to ensure the success of such an initiative. Tourism Ireland in conjunction with IFI should deliver a clear message to the anglers of the world that Ireland is home to the finest most well managed fisheries on earth with renowned reputation for hospitality and culture.”
“We must utilise the natural resources all around us if we are going to grow as a region. The Shannon basin and Lakelands can boast some of the best fishing holes in existence and it’s time government did what is required and support communities by highlighting what we have to offer.”
“We can bring back life and vibrancy to rural villages such as Rooskey, Tarmonbarry, Ballyleague but to name a few, but the Government need to put in place initiatives in order to facilitate such development,” concluded Corcoran.
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