The Central and Regional Fisheries Boards will be running a new National Education Programme nationwide consisting of a series of presentations and field trips to over 20 schools in each Fishery region.

The existing Something Fishy education resource, produced by the Fisheries Boards in conjunction with Blackrock Education Centre a few years so, has been well received by Primary School teachers and students.

However, in order to create further awareness for the resource and to ensure Fisheries staff can visit as many schools as possible, a national programme and a competition element has been agreed with 12 education centers in each region to increase distribution of the pack and educate primary school children on the importance of their local environment, fishery habitat and Ireland¹s fish species.

The pack is aimed at fifth and sixth classes and comprises of 9 double-sided activity cards for pupils, which explore different aspects of fish life, e.g. water, fish, the life cycle of a salmon, fish stocks, angling, conservation of our rivers and lakes, and fish as part of the food chain.

Teachers¹ notes which accompany each individual activity card include relevant background information and guidelines on working through the lesson. The pack is accompanied by a high quality poster, developed by Liam O¹Broin, an experienced teacher, angler and artist, and aims to aid the learning process in order to keep the children interested once the activity cards have been completed.

Each school will be asked to produce a class project based on the lessons in the pack and based on one of four main themes: 1) Art, 2) Literacy, 3) IT and 4) Practical Conservation. The top two schools in each region will get a place in the National Final. The winning class and teacher will be awarded with individual certificates, a school certificate and an array of fantastic prizes including microscopes and digital cameras.

Minister of State for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr. John Browne, T.D, said “I am particularly interested in the ‘Something Fishy’ initiative and have watched its progress with interest since I launched the pack in 2004. The Regional Fisheries Boards protect our fisheries stocks and habitat on a daily basis to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy amenities that are sometimes taken for granted.  Young people’s interest and imagination can be captured when they become aware of these habitats, the fish species in their local waterways, what is needed to protect them and what they can do to help in that effort.

“I would like to congratulate the Fisheries Boards and the Education Centres on this initiative and I wish all the schools that take part the very best of luck”.

John O¹Connor, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Fisheries Board added: “The Central and Regional Fisheries Boards are very proud of the Something Fishy resource. A great deal of work has been done with young people throughout the country including school visits from the staff of the Regional Fisheries Boards and youth angling competitions. The need to educate young people on Fisheries and angling is becoming increasingly important. Indeed, a number of angling clubs have a greater awareness of the need to increase their youth membership in order to ensure young people gain an interest in angling and fisheries conservation. We hope this national programme will encourage young people to investigate what their local river or stream has to offer.”

The pack is available in Irish and English and is also supported with an interactive website, www.somethingfishy.

The website consists of interactive games, quizzes and activities that refer to the information in the pack. The website can help to reinforce the lessons learnt in class and in doing so, educate children about the importance of the environment, fish species in Ireland and how we can work together to ensure conservation of fish and fishing in Ireland.