Written Answers. - Fisheries Protection.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

88 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when he expects to publish the draft regulations arising from the advice of the National Salmon Commission on the effectiveness of the wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10829/03]

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

97 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he intends to act on the recommendations of the National Salmon Commission that the allowable commercial catch of salmon for the 2003 season should not exceed 182,000 fish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10830/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 97 together.

The National Salmon Commission, having completed a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme for 2002, recommended as part of its considered advice that the total allowable commercial catch of salmon for the 2003 season should not exceed 182,000 fish. The salmon commission tendered its recommendation based on the advice of its own standing scientific committee and the management of the central and regional fisheries boards.
In accordance with the requirements of the Fisheries Acts, I published the draft wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme regulations on 11 March 2003. The draft regulations incorporated the Commissions recommendations. During the 30 day period to 9 April last, interested parties had the opportunity to submit objections which I am considering before making a final decision on the scheme for 2003. In all some 24 submissions were received. I also met a number of national delegations representing commercial fishermen.
Having considered the arguments put by all sides on this issue, I am inclined to set the quota at that recommended by the National Salmon Commission. I intend to publish the wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme regulations for 2003 later this week.