Written Answers. - Fishing Industry.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

183 Mr. Kenneally asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if status of licences issued to fisherman using eel bated pots; the proposals, if any, he has to deal with a potential problem with the licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1406/99]

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

184 Mr. Kenneally asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the reason licensed eel fishermen are not entitled to vote for the eel representative on the Southern Regional Fisheries Board or to stand for the position themselves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1407/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 184 together.

I understand that this matter relates to the Southern Regional Fisheries Board. I have made inquiries with that board and it has informed me that no licences are issued to fishermen to use baited eel pots. However, permits are issued by the board in accordance with the powers conferred on it under section 18 (1)(b) of the Fisheries Act, 1980, to fishermen for this method of fishing.

Voting entitlement and nomination of candidates for elections are governed by the provisions of the Fisheries Act, 1980, and relevant secondary legislation. Holders of valid eel licences are entitled under the legislation to vote.
I will consider the need for changes in the existing legislation in the light of policy proposals for the eel fishing section which are being considered by the central and regional fisheries boards.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

185 Mr. Kenneally asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he is in a position to reply to Deputy Kenneally's letter of 24 November 1998 concerning the appeal from the Irish fishing fleet for compensation for loss of earnings due to bad weather for a period of two months prior to that date; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the problem has now been compounded during the period prior to and after Christmas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1456/99]

Following representations from fishermen's organisations concerning the impact of the recent stormy weather on the livelihoods of fishermen, I have been monitoring the situation very closely. Last week, I established a working group to assess the extent of serious short-term problems in the fishing industry following the recent period of stormy weather. The first meeting of the group which comprises representatives of the fishermen, An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Department has already been held.