While fishing with some French visitors from Arles, they caught the first herring I have seen in Clew Bay. Known to come into the bay in the autumn fishermen fished at night with nets to catch the shoals of herring. Back in the 1970’s there was a herring fishery off Mayo, but it was overfished. Clew Bay and parts of Achill is probably a spawning area for the remanent herring.
In the 1840’s Alexander Nimmo, who built many of the piers in Galway and Mayo recorded 5000 fishermen in Clew Bay.
Unfortunately there are no marine protected areas along the Mayo coastline and so the herring are most unlikely to thrive without intervention. With ‘Supertrawlers’ fishing off the Mayo coast herring re-establishing spawning populations is impossible. This is the Wild Atlantic Way.