Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (458)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

458. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the way he plans to increase the number of wild salmon available for high value angling in lakes and rivers; and his views on whether netting in rivers is a problem in this regard. [8061/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that over the past number of years Ireland has been at the forefront of efforts to conserve and protect salmon, which also ensures the continued availability of salmon stock for economic exploitation. Actions have included the closure of the mixed stock drift net fishery, the closure of individual rivers and catchments to exploitation where salmon production is shown to have fallen below their conservation limit, together with a significant investment programme in salmon habitat restoration. It is my intention that the continued focus on conservation based management and investment in habitat restoration will help to restore salmon stocks to their historic levels.

Since 2007 Ireland has managed salmon stocks on an individual river-by-river basis, with exploitation of salmon only permitted where salmon in that catchment are above their conservation limit. In a situation where a catchment has a surplus of salmon available for exploitation, the available surplus may be allocated between the commercial fishery and recreational anglers, based on the analysis of local stakeholders and the decision of local management following recommendations from the local Fishery District Committee.

As rivers with surpluses have been identified on an individual river basis by the Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon, following careful analysis of a wide range of data, I am confident that draft netting of part of the surplus of salmon for a particular river does not pose a problem to the sustainability of the stock.