Written Answers. - Review of Legislation.

John McGuinness

Question:

764 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands if her Department will examine the law in relation to cormorants to determine if the activity of these birds can be monitored to determine the damage, if any, they cause to juvenile salmon and trout. [28298/98]

The cormorant, like all wild birds, is a protected species under the Wildlife Act, 1976. As a protected species, the cormorant cannot be hunted, captured or killed except under licence or permission granted under the Wildlife Act, 1976. The impact of cormorant feeding on vulnerable fish stocks is subject to control under permissions granted by me under section 42 of that Act. These permissions are granted where there is evidence of serious damage to fish stocks. The resultant impact on cormorant populations is minimised by the imposition of restrictions on the permissions granted.

Bona fide research on the cormorant can also be facilitated by licensing under the Wildlife Act. Some limited studies have been carried out here and in other European countries to examine the impact of the cormorant on fish stocks. However, the results have been inconclusive.