The latest Shorebirds Bulletin was delivered around Thompson Beach yesterday – the following is TBPA Chair Ian Tefler’s contribution to the September issue, plus a link to the full Bulletin.
Read the full September 2018 Shorebirds Bulletin (PDF).
From The Chair
With the start of Spring, we can expect warmer weather, increased bird activity and the return of the ubiquitous crab fishers.
I have been pleased to see that the Fishwatch officials have made their presence felt early and often with visits to the carparks and the early installation of the information sign relating to crab size and catch limits. I hope the message gets out early this year.
It reminded me that the Dublin History Group had been gifted some “visitors books” which were found under a building that used to be part of the “ORANA” Holiday homes at Parham, that were managed by a Mr Len Seidel.
The holiday homes, 2 adjacent shacks, were “opened” on 3rd February, 1951. They were used all year by mainly families from the country or the hills whose association through the church or by being business clients, gave them entry. Len would advise and assist the holiday-makers to try their hands at fishing and crabbing. During the winter months there were no crabs, but fish catches were good.
Of course the 1950’s and early 60’s were in the “imperial” era where large numbers were scored by the dozen, score and gross. For instance, in May 1961, a number of happy families boasted of catching 92½ dozen crabs and ½ a tub of fish. That is 1110 crabs. In the same month another family caught 64 dozen (768) crabs.
In January 1962, 2 families from Galga and one from Manting, spent 7 days at the shacks and enjoyed a total catch of 124 dozen and 10 crabs (1498) and 50 pounds of fish (23 kg).
In January 1963, 7 families totalling 24 people stayed for 10 days and gathered approximately 200 dozen crabs (2400) and about 4 cwt (51 kg) of fish.
Around then Len Seidel had a stroke and that effectively saw the end of the holiday home experience.
Of course we are talking about an era nearly 60 years ago, when there were no bag limits, no minimum sizes and hand casting nets were allowed. But each year, families came back to the same spot to cast their nets and fill their kerosene tins with crabs.
The Government has set bag and size limits, banned hand casting nets and created Marine Parks with the aim of building fish and crab counts back towards these early numbers. The presence of Fishwatch Officers is a very important additional feature to achieve that aim.
I am not denigrating the actions of the people from the Orana holiday homes, because they what they were doing at that time, they were allowed to do. What I fervently hope is that the people that come to our beach this year, obey the rules so that each year when they return, there will be something to catch.
Please keep your eyes open – don’t get directly involved – but if you see someone breaching the rules, observe and write down things like numberplates and the like, to give the Police and Fishwatch something to follow up on.
Ian Tefler – Chair.
Read more news from Thompson Beach – view the full September 2018 Shorebirds Bulletin (PDF).
(Fisheries can be contacted via the 24/7 Fishwatch hotline on 1800 065 522 to report any illegal crabbing/fishing activity.)