RTE is offering advice to those fishing with baits, including ones that contain live animals, as part of a campaign to protect the environment and tackle the problem of pollution from betta fishing.
The campaign, called The Great Betta Fishery, is part of the Irish Natural Heritage Network’s Betta and Marine Life Campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by the industry.RTE is running a campaign in a number of cities to raise public awareness of batafish and to highlight the fact that it is a vulnerable species that needs to be protected.
The RTE website explains:The campaign is being supported by a number the conservation groups Wildlife Conservation Ireland, Oceans Ireland, and the Irish Fishery Commission.
Rights group WWF-Ireland says it is concerned by the potential impact on betta in areas such as coastal areas, in which they are most abundant.
It warns of the potential health impact on the marine life of the fish.
“We have a long history of bettus and their harmful impact on aquatic life in Ireland.
Betta are a highly polluting species that are particularly vulnerable to pollution, with their populations being severely depleted by pollution from fishing gear,” said the WWF-IRA spokeswoman.”
The fact that they are being introduced in areas where bettu populations are declining is alarming.”
Our concern is that this could have an impact on populations in the wild, which would be particularly vulnerable.
“Betta are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The European Union has been monitoring the population of bittus and has declared them endangered, and Ireland has an agreement with the European Commission to protect them.”
While the IUCN recognises the value of the betta as an important part of marine ecosystems, we have an obligation to protect its unique ecological niche,” said a spokesperson for the ICOM, the European conservation organization.
The Irish government has also announced that it will set aside €2.5 million to help with the restoration of the environment in the north west of the country, and will be providing technical assistance.
A spokesman for Wildlife Conservation Irish said it is working with the government to ensure betta populations are maintained in their natural state.”
This includes re-establishing the natural and cultural habitat for betta,” he said.