Written Answers. - Fisheries Development

Enda Kenny

Question:

190 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the economic value in terms of angling income derived from the Corrib Mask angling system; the approximate number of anglers who have used this system in each of the past three years; the discussions, if any, he has had with the Department of Marine and Natural Resources in relation to the potential that exists in the maximum development and restoration of the Corrib system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1708/99]

Enda Kenny

Question:

191 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he has received a request from Game Angling Ireland West to meet a deputation in respect of funding for the Corrib development system in terms of angling; the reason it has not been possible to meet with this delegation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1709/99]

Enda Kenny

Question:

192 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the stage of development of the development programme for the Corrib system; the amount of money allocated each year for this programme; if he will allocate funds for the completion of the programme in 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1715/99]

Enda Kenny

Question:

193 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the reason he determined that 1998 was to be the final phase of development of the Corrib system development programme; if his attention has been drawn to the submissions made by the Western Regional Fisheries Board projecting a requirement in excess of £4 million for the project based on the surveys of rivers and streams carried out by the Central Fisheries Board; if he has assessed these submissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1716/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 190 to 193, inclusive, together.

During the assessment of the loughs Corrib, Mask and Cara (Western Lakes) proposal for European Regional Development Fund grant aid in 1994-5 the revenue generated by visiting anglers was estimated at just under £10 million per annum. It was also estimated that just over 28,000 visiting anglers are attracted annually to the loughs and that subject to a comprehensive development programme for the fisheries and an effective marketing strategy, the potential exists to double the number of game angling visitor numbers from 22,500 to 45,000.

The Western Lakes project has been receiving ongoing funding under the Tourism Angling Measure (TAM) since early 1995 with the important objective of rehabilitating the Corrib, Mask and Cara lakes as prime brown trout fisheries for domestic and tourism angling. The amount of funds allocated for each of the years of the project is: £1.035 million in 1995, £0.220 million in 1997 and £0.800 million in 1998. This brings the total investment in the Western Lakes project to over £2 million and is nearly 12 per cent of the total funding available over the whole period under the Tourism Angling Measure. The £800,000 provided in 1998 is over 30 per cent of the funding approved in that year. The works undertaken to date include predator control stock management, water quality and instream survey work.
The objective of the TAM is to develop the national angling product to best international standards and significantly increase the number of tourist anglers visiting the country. Angling has tremendous benefits from the tourism perspective as a year round activity often in non-traditional tourism locations, delivering significant local economic return as well as contributing to the tourism sector overall. The main flagship investments under this measure have been in the west.
I understand that an application for an additional £4 million in funding, based on the surveys of rivers and streams carried out by the Central Fisheries Board on the Corrib, Mask and Cara has been submitted to the TAM Unit in the Central Fisheries Board. I understand, however, that all TAM funding has already been allocated and any additional applications will have to be considered as fall-back options and in the context of their relative value and priority.
The request by Game Angling Ireland West to meet a deputation to discuss funding was received by my office only yesterday and I have not yet had an opportunity to meet with them.