Lough Owel Preservation Society

The Lough Owel Preservation Society started out as The Fishery Preservation Society of Loughs Derravaragh, Owel and Ennell, which held its first meeting on 11th of November 1885.

The Right Hon. Lord Greville was requested to take the chair after which the objects of the meeting were discussed.

It was then agreed to adjourn the meeting until the 17th January in order for Mr. Batterby of the Lough Sheelan Fishery Preservation Society to attend and impart valuable advice and information.

There were eighteen people present and Mr Cramer Roberts was unaminously elected as Secretary to the Society.

At this meeting on the 17th November 1885 it was agreed that the Society be called The Board of Conservators of Loughs Derravaragh Owel and Ennell.

Water Bailiffs

The Society expanded its coverage over time when the name appears at later stages with the River Inny and then Brosna included. The object of the Society was for the preservation of spawning fish in connection with the principal lakes of Westmeath.

Their meeting of the 22nd December 1885 saw the appointment of Water Baliffs. Those appointed for the Lough Owel region were Matthew Jones of Ballard over the Ballard River and its tributaries, Patrick Coyne over the Wattstown and Kilpatrick rivers, John McKew of Mullingar over the Portnashangan and Kilpatrick rivers.

At a general meeting of subscribers on the Tuesday 12 January 1886 it was decided that since the water Baliffs were appointed to watch the streams the Royal Irish constabulary were not permitted to exercise any further supervision.

The question of illegal fishing on the lakes was forever present and at their meeting on 29 January 1887 it was decided to appoint a Water Baliff over each lake. On Thursday 10th February, 1887 Col. Smyth, Messrs R.W.C. Levinge and M.F. Barues were appointed for Lough Owel. In 1888 the Baliffs were paid 10/- per week during the open season. The fund for this purpose to be independent of the general Fishery Fund.

Renaming the Society

In 1926 the Society reformed to reflect its having an interest solely in Lough Owel. The title on the minute book reads Lough Owel Preservation Association (Recognised under the Department of fisheries, Saorstat Eireann).

Its first A.G.M. took place in Leney Parochial Hall on 1st February 1926. The necessity for hatcheries and for the development of artificial propogation on an extensive scale was highlighted. The successful working of the hatcheries turned out 200,000 fry into the streams of lough Owel. It was decided to give a reward for the destruction of otters and the members offered to give as much voluntary protection as possible to the lake.

The Society worked with the Ministery of Fisheries regarding the efficient stocking and protection of Lough Owel. Problems associated with poaching is evident throughout the minutes. The Annual grant of £65 to the Association from the Ministry of Fisheries in 1937 is insufficient and they find themselves £15 in debt.

Currently known as Lough Owel Trout preservation Association the society is still in operation working for the good of Lough Owel and its stock.

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