The annual allocation of public licences for commercial draft nets is governed by the provisions of the relevant Control of Fishing for Salmon Order. The issuing of licences is administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and the decision on licence allocations were made in advance of the season which commenced on the 12th May. Any person over the age of 18 is entitled to apply for a public draft net licence unless they have previously availed of the Salmon Hardship Scheme. The process identifies a number of categories of applicant depending on, inter alia, the applicant’s previous fishing history.
In the area in question there were a total of 20 applications for 14 available licences. In the interests of fairness, fishermen who most recently held a licence are prioritised. All the previous licence holders from 2012 applied again in 2013 and consequently all available licences were allocated and there were none available for the 6 other applicants, one of whom is the person the subject of the question, who has not held a draft net licence in the past 6 years.