Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Shellfish Landings.

81.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will state in respect of the past five years for the areas of Wexford, Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Clonakilty, Union Hall, Castletownshend, Baltimore, Schull and Bantry, the landing figures and values of each of the following species of shellfish: mussels, oysters, crabs, lobsters, crawfish, periwinkles and clams; what steps are being taken to increase the productivity of such shellfish areas; and if there is any evidence of pollution in such areas.

The reply to the first part of the question is in the form of a tabular statement which I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report.

As to the second part of the question, the position is that the scientific staff of the Fisheries Division of my Department is continuously engaged in research programmes designed to assist in the development and expansion of our sea fisheries. Because of its economic and social importance, particular emphasis is placed on research work relating to shellfisheries where such exist or show any potential along any part of the coastline. The areas mentioned by the Deputy are, of course, included in this work and the results of the research and investigations are published by my Department in its Annual Report on Sea and Inland Fisheries, in the Sea Fisheries Bulletins, in the Irish Fisheries Investigations Series B (Marine) and in numerous Fishery Leaflets which are widely circulated amongst fishermen and fishermen's organisations.

As regards the third part of the question, my function in regard to the problem of water pollution relates only to the prohibition contained in the Fisheries Acts, 1959 and 1962, on the discharge into any waters of deleterious matter liable to render the water poisonous or injurious to fish, to spawning grounds or to the food of fish. Pollution of this kind has been detected from time to time in some estuaries of rivers along the south-east and south coasts and arrangements were initiated to rectify the position but no evidence was found of pollution in the open sea.

Following is the tabular statement referred to:—

LANDINGS OF SHELLFISH

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

Quantity

Value

Quantity

Value

Quantity

Value

Quantity

Value

Quantity

Value

Wexford:

Cwt

£

Cwt.

£

Cwt.

£

Cwt.

£

Cwt.

£

Mussels

2,000

1,500

3,520

2,640

6,016

4,512

14,388

10,791

27,272

20,476

Kinsale:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

766

618

144

96

231

260

40

120

1,160

1,399

Lobsters

11,786

5,470

1,200

500

2,105

1,216

4,421

2,922

4,740

3,283

Cwt.

Periwinkles

10

20

Courtmacsherry

Returns included in Kinsale figures.

Clonakilty:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

865

778

900

505

25

28

500

625

600

750

Lobsters

4,695

2,347

11,392

2,970

1,318

824

3,080

1,848

1,800

1,050

Cwt.

Cwt.

Periwinkles

1,411

2,093

400

798

Union Hall:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

2,261

1,863

1,591

1,183

1,350

1,591

974

1,109

813

1,008

Lobsters

7,233

3,576

4,905

2,196

4,846

3,512

5,814

3,726

4,302

2,932

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Periwinkles

15

35

58

126

20

60

Other Shellfish

201

769

5

68

Castletownshend:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

468

362

116

80

98

66

Returns included in Union Hall figures for 1969 and 1970.

Lobsters

2,454

1,329

804

447

84

51

Baltimore:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

191

159

1,021

808

1,759

1,979

1,811

2,132

2,262

2,840

Crabs

2,091

59

1,157

33

Lobsters

19,677

9,183

18,838

7,162

10,458

6,547

13,420

9,038

7,025

4,965

Cwt.

Periwinkles

144

288

Other Shellfish

1

8

Schull:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

1,359

1,043

2,282

1,431

1,533

1,597

1,039

1,240

1,134

1,390

Crabs

10,152

296

16,488

495

199,805

5,296

567,800

18,132

507,180

11,913

Lobsters

8,401

4,143

6,054

2,611

4,004

2,106

4,104

2,628

3,965

2,786

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Periwinkles

88

176

10

18

10

20

109

261

49

147

Other Shellfish

1

15

19

527

3

99

Bantry:

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Crawfish

329

344

57

64

696

955

Crabs

87

3

96

3

Lobsters

291

254

730

230

639

399

735

473

1,392

1,051

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Cwt.

Periwinkles

269

401

676

1,354

389

841

236

795

Other Shellfish

15

182

80

920

19

207

656

4,741

1,454

2,604

NOTE: Where any species of fish mentioned in the question is not shown under an individual port, no landings of the species were recorded at that port. Landings of clams are not recorded separately for any port but are included under the heading "Other Shellfish".

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he has received a report from the Departmental officials on the survey of these areas? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the big potential of the shellfish industry, especially if we enter the Common Market? What is he doing to develop the shellfish industry in this area?

There have been substantial developments with regard to the shellfish industry in recent years. We are continuing to try to bring about improvements in the production in various spheres and we have been successful in this work. We are continuing to try to bring about improvements in production in various ways and I think we are succeeding.

The reason I put down Wexford in this question was to make the Parliamentary Secretary aware that much has been done at Wexford, and as a result there has been a big increase in the fishing there, but nothing has been done along the coast from Kinsale to Castletownbere where there is a huge potential. Surely it is time to have something done there?

I would not agree that nothing is being done in that area or along that coastline.

I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary nothing has been done.

Do I understand from the Parliamentary Secretary that there is no pollution in the open sea? Is Dublin Bay not open sea?

As I said in my reply we have no evidence of pollution in the open sea.