His Excellency visits Fish Farm

John Ward, Inland Fisheries Policy Manager at the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), tells us about a recent visit to Cornaa’s Fish Farm, featuring special guests:

On 11th October 2022 General Sir John Lorimer and Lady Philippa Lorimer were enthralled by the intricacies of the farm’s aquaculture practices, which provide 20,000 trout annually. The visit was also attended by Mrs Jennifer Wheeler (Deputy Chief Executive, DEFA) and Mr Ken Milne (Director of Environment, DEFA), led by DEFA’s Inland Fisheries staff. Of interest was the history of the site, which was established in 1972 to stock reservoirs with rainbow trout for a greater angling experience on the Island for locals and tourists alike.

After being leased to an international aquaculture company from 2010 to May 2020, Government staff set to improving the farm for a better public experience during school holiday ‘open days’.

A tour of the on-site laboratory by John Ward (Inland Fisheries Policy Manager) demonstrated the range of uses this facility has for both farm staff, Government veterinarians and external inspectors like CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture) who provide certification for the Island’s disease free status.

Sir John found the processes conducted in the lab of interest including sample collection, pathogen identification, and fish sterilisation, among other operational procedures. The life cycle of salmonids was explained by Fisheries Officer Brian Walmsley, which particularly captivated Lady Philippa. Both visitors expressed their intention of returning to view trout eggs, ova and hatched alevin in the hatchery, after coming online in December later this year.

Recreational angling is a popular pastime for the health and wellbeing of the Island’s residents with licence sales showing it to be a popular option during the pandemic. Set in some of the most stunning scenic locations, the Island’s reservoirs offer peace and a time to reconnect with the natural environment in our UNESCO Biosphere.

Anglers have stated that our reservoirs provide some of the best fishing opportunities compared with other fisheries in the UK. Children are tuning to angling and many families have shared wonderful fishing experiences, taking home these memories that no doubt will be shared for years to come.

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